cliche or how i feel when i think of her

I sigh.

I make a little sound. It’s something like a sigh or a tiny moan.

It’s like those tiny sweet sounds babies make when they are sleeping.

It’s an automatic, accidental sound. I think of her and I hear the sound coming out of my mouth. The breath coming out of my nose.

The blood rushing through my veins.

My cells are awake. My body is alive.

I am alive. Again.

I wear a stupid grin.

But I don’t feel stupid.

I feel special. I feel loved. I feel seen. I feel heard. I feel.

I feel.

She is standing near the starting line at a race. And I feel so much.

So many things. Tears are in my eyes.

This woman. This woman who loves me enough to stand near the starting line at a race.

She carried my bike for me and I let her.

She is there to show me that she loves me.

To love me.

The verb love. Not the word love.

And I am overwhelmed by it. I am washed over by it.

Not drowning. Just floating. And there are so many tears that I am blind for the first mile of the race.

Not scary tears. Not pain.

Not pain at all.

Just comfort and sweetness and passion.

There she is again after six hours. At the finish line, 70 miles later. She’s waiting for me. She’s cheering for me. She’s there for me. Just for me.

And the funniest part (which only makes sense if you understand how much energy I have devoted to pushing love away) is that I want her there. I am so happy to see her there.

I want her so much.

I like every single moment we spend together and I want more of it. So much more of it. I like to peel the layers to see what I find. I like the opening of my spirit. I like watching her open. Every nook of her just gets better.

I like the feeling of loving her.

I feel so very grateful to love her.

She is sitting on the couch near me. We aren’t in a hurry. We don’t have any plans. We don’t care. We don’t care about anything. We don’t need anything.

Except food every so often.

Silly girl. Sweet girl.

Pretty girl. Smart girl.

Woman.

PERFECTLY FORMED WOMAN OF MINE.

When she goes away I am not relieved. I am not desperate to get her away from me so I can be alone again. I close my eyes and I whisper her name and I make the sound again.

The sound of love. The peaceful, beautiful, comforting, sound of love.

Of being in love.

Of believing in love.

I want to be so very careful with my precious love. I don’t want to fuck it up.

The treasure of it.

Lovely love. I am not even rolling my eyes when I type that.

I am grinning. Like a fool. A fool in love.

I dream of our future. I dream of all the things we will do and the places we will go and the feelings we will feel. The good ones and the bad ones.

I get scared sometimes and I question and she answers my questions and we talk about it.

We touch about it. Hold about it.

We unwrap our fears and we examine them together and we figure it out.

I like having her around so much. I just like having her around.

Her laughter is my favorite song.

Three months.

I have known her three months. And all the jokes about lesbians circle on the edges of my mind. I am a cliche and I don’t give one single fuck about it.

Not one single fuck.

Not a teeny, tiny, itsy-bitsy, little fuck.

Because how I feel when I think of her is a feeling I have not felt in my life.

Not once. Nothing like this.

This bliss. This peace.

This comforting sense of rightness.

And I am filled with joy for this powerfully simple experience.

Of love.

 

 

 

 

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The Middle Place

I haven’t felt compelled to add to this blog in quite a while. I realized that I regretted not having the blog be completely private and the thoughts and feelings I wanted to share were too personal for the people who now had access to the blog. So I have been quite deep in thought for the past five months or so and didn’t really want some folks inside my head via this blog. Not because they were bad people, I just needed some space to work through some things.

I am feeling less of that need for privacy and I feel ready to share some thoughts that aren’t so private and feel more useful for the searchers out there looking to gain from other people’s journey’s.

I have been single for  over two years now. I have certainly dated. I have dated hot and heavy. But I haven’t committed to a relationship in over two years. It felt too risky. Not because I was afraid of being hurt. No, because I was afraid of hurting someone else. It should have been a clue to me that I wasn’t afraid of being hurt. I have spent two years dating but keeping a safe distance from anything resembling emotion. And when emotions tried to get involved, I exited stage left…quickly. I never questioned my decision to walk away from a potential partner. I just knew they weren’t right for me. Or I wasn’t right for them.

A few months ago A woman I dated briefly said to me, “you’ve been shut down for so long, you don’t even realize how shut down you are.”

Whatever.  Asshole.

I have spent several years feeling pretty on top of my shit. I went from being the depressed girl pretending to be a happily married heterosexual mom of three…through a difficult divorce (oxymoron) and a very broken heart to being a fucking warrior. I haven’t been depressed in years. Seriously. I have been less depressed in the last four years than I have been in my entire conscious life. It’s been good and I am grateful for my fighting spirit and my energy toward the goal of creating a new life for me and my children. God it’s been hard but I have done it.

Seriously. I have been kicking life’s ass. Working hard. Building a career. Buying and selling houses and cars and saving for my own retirement and learning how to fix stuff and manage stuff and you know, basically just working my fingers to the bone getting my shit together.

My shit is together. You know, my garage is filled with crap and sometimes I struggle to find time to pay my bills before they are late. But generally, I am doing pretty damn well, out here on my own. I love my job. I have complicated but amazing relationships with my kids. I am good. We are good. It’s all good.

I have been (and still am, for the record) pretty proud of myself.

So the lady who knew everything’s words hit me hard. I couldn’t understand them at all. And as I explored what it meant to be shut down and what truth there could be in the words, I have teetered on what I used to call “falling down the rabbit hole”. This is what I used to call the depression I have struggled with for much of my life.

I did some sessions with the therapist I had stopped seeing (because ya know, my shit was together and I was doing amazing so I didn’t need her anymore.)  I have been sucking down these herbal anti-anxiety pills that were recommended to me. I have spent days in bed binging on netflix, rather than keeping myself so incredibly busy every second of everyday in order to avoid anything resembling feelings. I didn’t want to get sucked down the rabbit hole again but I did, a little. A little too much. I don’t like it at all. I don’t want to go back there and I have wrestled with it hard.

The last few months I have been cracking a lot of jokes with friends about how I am “dead inside”. It’s a joke.

And it’s true. I am a little dead inside. There hasn’t been much risk that I would fall in love with someone I dated. Because I am dead inside. HAHA. So funny. Hilarious.

And the realization that I have come to, although I haven’t figured it out yet, entirely, is that the key to a reasonably happy life is finding a way to live in the middle place. The middle exists between dead inside and the rabbit hole. It’s the place where I give myself permission to feel, to grieve, to be angry, to be sad, to feel joy and excitement, all of the feelings and not fall into the rabbit hole. The middle place is where you feel without becoming overwhelmed with those feelings.

I responded to her at the time (and I still believe it) that I think love will and can melt the ice that surrounds my heart. I am experiencing the middle place now.

I am not perfect at it and I don’t expect I ever will be. I am aware of the deadness seeping in and I cannot always stop it but I am aware of it now. So that’s an improvement.

I am feeling deeply and I am not depressed. I am as open as I can be right now. I am willing to be open when someone earns the right to be inside my inner world. But not before. I am still going to vet potential partners and friends. We should all do that.

I am cautiously in love with my world, and myself, and the idea of learning to exist, at least some of the time, in the middle place. We can call it vulnerability but that word annoys me (because it makes me feel vulnerable) so I like seeing it as the middle place.

I have a view of the rabbit hole with my feet planted firmly on the ground. I am not overwhelmingly afraid of what will happen to me if I am a tiny bit less dead inside.

It’s gonna take some time. And somewhere there may be a person that is patient enough to be with me as I learn to let people in again. Perhaps there is someone out there willing to walk through that with me. It’s going to take some bravery and fearlessness and some willingness to be hurt. I am not in a hurry and if she is, she’s not the right person for me.

But I see what the middle place is now. It’s not a bad place. There are risks here.

But I suspect those risks are worth it.

Adventures in Italy

IMG_2978.JPGI am on the adventure of a lifetime. We left the USA on the 16th and arrived in Rome on the 17th. The flight was uneventful. I watched two movies and took copious amounts of sleep meds and still slept very little. I decided side sleepers just don’t sleep on planes because after a Xanax and two doses of melatonin, I woke up every 15 or 20 minutes. Annoying. I am super jealous of the folks in first class with their little tiny beds. But it was nice to catch up with my Aunt and read my book. img_2979Our flight was slightly delayed and finding our driver in the airport felt nearly impossible with hundreds of drivers standing in a crowd with small white signs with last names printed in pen held chest high. But there he was, Daniel, the owner of our AirBnb and our driver for our trip to the center of Rome. It was a short 35-minute drive and Daniel spoke excellent English so we got lots of good information as we drove. As we neared the apartment, he explained that we needed to find a parking space. 20 minutes later we were still circling the area and no parking spot appeared even though most of the cars in Rome are half the size of an American car. I thought parking in San Francisco was bad…hah. I really needed to pee so Daniel finally parked in a bus zone, swearing he wouldn’t be ticketed because “parking is a really big problem in Rome”. After walking a short way to the apartment, we arrived in the little alley entrance to 84 via della Madonna dei Monti. Cute little apartment in a building that was built in 1620. img_2987Lots of charm, too few pillows. I noticed that right away and made a mental note that I really like lots of fluffy pillows and I should add that fact to my Airbnb search criteria…must have pillows. Daniel pulled out a map and proceeded to give us about 20 minutes of sight seeing advice. As is often the case with me, I stopped listening after 10 minutes and began thinking that I wished he would leave so I could freshen my stinky, sleep deprived body a bit. We took off for sight seeing adventures almost immediately after saying goodbye to Daniel.

And so began three straight days of being lost all the time.

Yep. We got lost. And then we got lost again. When we found our way, we got lost again. I had forgotten how difficult navigating in a strange city can be and I made another mental note to read less about things to do in a city before I arrive and more about how to navigate the darned city. I have to say that being lost is a great way to see things and we had investigated at least seven of the major tourist attractions in the period of 7 hours of wandering around Rome, simply by walking by them by accident. We also ate some amazing food. The last hour of being lost was the most frustrating because I was exhausted from lack of sleep. We had made a goal of staying awake until 8PM Italy time and we arrived back at the apartment just before 9PM. I fell asleep almost immediately and slept until 7:30 the next day.

AH, sleep. So good. So satisfying.

The next morning, I went on a quest for food and coffee because I had no idea how to use the weird little coffee pot thing in our room. Italians are not big fans of morning protein or to go coffee so I returned with two chocolate croissants and coffee in plastic cups covered by aluminum foil. We had a 10AM tour of the Coliseum so there wasn’t much time to do anything but shower and head out. Not shower, bathe. There was no shower. Just a bath and a handheld shower thing.

As a side note, bathrooms in Rome are quite different than bathrooms at home. In my first day I spent quite a bit of time standing and looking at the toilet trying to figure out how to flush it. It’s a button, usually on the wall, but not always and not always directly above the toilet. You also have to pump the sink with a pedal on the floor in order to wash your hands. It would have made a good “stupid American” video with me trying to use the bathroom as I stood looking at the toilet for five minutes before finding the flush button and then waving my hands around the sink for another five before finally discovering the floor foot pump. Fun times. I have seen more bathrooms than anything else since arriving in Italy. It’s ridiculous how much I pee.

img_3081The coliseum is a giant stadium like ancient building in the center of Rome and probably the most visited tourist attraction. Our walking tour met and we had an adorable tour guide in her 20’s. We had to wear ear buds to hear her. Ear buds never stay in my ears. What the fuck is wrong with my ears anyway? Off we went to explore the ancient building. I won’t go on and on about what we saw. It was very cool and it’s a must see and we had the best tour which showed us all the most inaccessible places kept behind lock and key to the average tourists. Once again, I had to pee right away. Peeing is a major travel issue for me. I really struggle with having to pee all the time. I nearly lost the tour entirely at one point because I ran off to pee. I spent more time wondering why no one else had to pee like I did than actually listening to our tour guide. It’s impossible that I peed twice before a single other person on our tour had to pee. What are these people, camels? Anyway, the tour was quite good. About three hours into it I was done and found I was no longer listening at all to our sweet little guide. I felt bad ignoring her so I decided to study her accent in case I ever need to play an Italian on stage. My god that accent is amazing. Every single word goes up at the end. EveryAH SingleAH WordAH GoesAH UpAH atAH theAH EndAH. It’s exhausting to copy that accent but I had a lovely time repeating every word the guide said in my head and taking photos of trees. Yes, trees. I love them. Not that I don’t history. I do. But really, it was a four-hour tour. How much history can you learn? Especially with all those amazing Roman trees to distract me. When the tour ended I couldn’t wait to get rid of the ear buds that didn’t stay in my ears and have some freedom from “the history of ancient Rome” lesson.

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Does anyone notice the vagina in this photo?

Tonia immediately told me that she felt like the tour should have ended at 2.5 hours and that she had to pee the entire time too. Whew, what a relief that I wasn’t the only one who felt that way and perhaps my ADHD isn’t as bad as it seems.

We also decided that their needs to be an app called Where’s the Potty for people like me. It’s a good idea and we should totally do it. Rome needs more bathrooms.

Side note: there are a fuck ton of McDonald’s in Rome. Where you can also pee. YAY McDonald’s. Or McCafe…where you can get a cappuccino and a chocolate croissant (and pee). Yep. I don’t know what to say about that other than Where’s the Potty could simply be Where’s the McDonalds because you can always pee there. I wanted to buy some McDonalds to thank them for their bathrooms. But I didn’t.

This is Italy. I am not eating McDonalds. (Two days later, we ate McDonald’s. I needed those French fries, bad. No shame. The fries are so good.)

img_3151Food, glorious food. SO much good food. Meal highlights were Pasta Carbanara (which I had twice in two different places and both times it was fucking delicious) and the most amazing Calzone stuffed with mushrooms and prosciutto and cheese that I can still taste in my mind. OMG the crust. So good. And the bread…all the bread. I am pretty sure I gained five pounds already.

After the longest walking tour in world history, we took the train to the Vatican. I learned that you should never walk away from the platform to go back and look at the map again because you will have to buy another ticket. Oops. $3 lesson. We arrived near the Vatican ready to eat and found a little cafe that seemed decent. It was. But my fish had eyes and I realized I really before my food with the eyes removed. After lunch, it was after 3PM and we didn’t think we had time to see both the Vatican museums and St. Peter’s Cathedral which both closed at 6PM. We had read that the lines were long in both places but that the St. Peters line moved quickly so we made our way toward the square where we found two very long lines that did not move quickly at all. I pulled out my book (so glad I brought it) and switched between chatting with my Aunt, reading my book, and analyzing the speed of our line vs. the line beside us. My analysis confirmed that the line next to us was moving twice as fast as I watched people who had entered the line at the same time as us disappear inside. I had to go full zen goddess to keep from freaking out about it. I mean, it’s a place of worship, not Disney World. It turned out the other line fed into two security checks while our line fed into one and frankly, I am notorious for picking the slowest line. I don’t why. I just do. It’s a gift really. (for the record, Disney World would have never allowed two uneven flowing lines.)

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Ah…St. Peter’s. So beautiful. I just can’t describe it. We waited an hour and forty-five minutes to get inside and it was worth the slow, crappy line to see it’s majestic beauty. I can’t believe how beautiful it was. I was mesmerized. My Aunt ran through it trying to get to the gift shop before it closed because her husband asked for one thing from her travels, a Rosary from the Vatican, but I took my time. After an hour of wandering and starring in awe at the ceiling and praying, I finally texted Tonia to ask where she was. I could sense something was wrong in the tone of the texts and she told me all the gift shops were closed and she wouldn’t be able to get her husband the one thing he wanted. I looked up and realized I was basically standing next to a tiny gift shop that sold about 75 different kinds of rosaries and told her to get her ass here NOW as they were about to close. I looked to the sky and said “come on mom and grandma, if you have any power to get Tonia into this tiny corridor I wandered down, help her find it quick”…and it worked. She was the last customer to enter that shop and the last customer to make a purchase. THANKS GHOSTS OF THE HALL WOMEN. (We did end up passing another gift shop outside the exit where Tonia purchased another Rosary, but that’s not the point.)

I was quite charmed by the genuine sadness Tonia felt at not making the love of her life’s wish come true and I said a silent, Thank you God prayer that Tonia had found such a good man to love.

So the Vatican experience ended and we took the train back to our hood in search of dinner. Both Tonia and I got super hungry, too much standing, grouchy HANGRY at that point. When we finally sat down and ordered dinner, we both had orgasms while we ate it. No really. We had actual food orgasms. So good.

The next morning I really needed to run so I got up and headed out early. I really enjoy running in a strange city and I had my bearings well enough to not get too lost. I did almost five miles. The streets are a little uneven and that’s difficult and you have to step carefully. The crowds aren’t easy to navigate but I really loved seeing the people and the neighborhoods and just zipping along and feeling the energy of the city. We then had plans to have a slow, easy day. We wanted to hit some of the boutiques we had passed nearby and I had a neighborhood I wanted to visit off the beaten “tourist track”. Shopping was lots of fun and both of us found cute things. Feeling confident after our trip to the Vatican by train, we headed toward the Metro thinking we knew exactly what we were doing. We didn’t. We went to the wrong stop, got off, wandering around at the street level, looking for the bus. Asked several people for help. Got no help. Went back down into the Metro to ask the station attendant for help. Not only was he a total DICK. (I hate him. I have plans to build a voodoo doll of that guy so I can stick pins in it someday.) He also said “maybe I don’t understand where you want to go because you aren’t saying it correctly in Italian.” Yeah, probably not…jerkface. So back on the train, to a new station, then a giant bus station where I finally discovered something absolutely wonderful: GOOGLE FUCKING MAPS will tell you exactly what to do. It told me what bus number to take and exactly what time that bus would arrive and exactly what stop to get off at and then it tracked our asses so we knew we were in the right place. Now this neighborhood called Travestere was the most fun we had in Rome.img_3178 I was disappointed that we didn’t make it until so late in the day, but we nestled into a yummy looking restaurant and got wine and food into our bodies and the frustrating journey was immediately forgotten. After dinner, we walked the beautiful corridors and alleyways and visited several spots for more drinks and people watching. I was searching for gay bars and we hit every one that was advertised as such. I didn’t see any gay women in the bars, as always. I guess the lesbians stay hidden in Italy in the same way they do at home. We ended up in a very expensive Uber on the way home. Both of us were a bit sloshed. For some reason, we decided to finish off the evening with a big glass of Sake in a sushi place. Hmmm…that hurt the next morning.

The next morning we both had hangovers and I needed something besides chocolate for breakfast so I went to the store and bought eggs and made breakfast. That helped the headaches a little. We packed up and got ready for our train to Florence. Seriously, I brought too much crap and I really regret it.

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Wish I were traveling light.

My suitcases are too big, too heavy and I do not need all this shit I brought. Ah well, live and learn. It’s been 15 years since my last (and only) big travel adventure so I forgot how unimportant clothing is compared to travel ease. And all of our AirBnb’s have a washing machine. Next time I won’t pack so much. I was really proud of our ability to navigate our way to the metro station but we did get a little lost finding our Florence train. It’s really about experience and now that we’ve done it once I suspect it won’t be so hard in the future. The language barrier is an issue and I have found Italians aren’t super helpful. I think really studying the transit systems is a must for travelling. And learning a few phrases in the native tongue so you don’t come off as an asshole who doesn’t careimg_3203 about at least trying to say things correctly.

Watching the countryside go by on the train was lovely. I love the rhythm of a train. It was one of my favorite hours of the journey so far.

We took a taxi to our Airbnb in Florence and It was terrifying watching our driver speed through the narrow streets and barely missing the people crossing the roads. I am shocked that this system or driving in Florence works. There are people everywhere, cars trying to get past them and scooters zipping around both. It’s really like nothing I have ever seen before and I am grateful not to be driving here. The new apartment is three flights up a narrow staircase and our hosts husband carried our suitcases up. He is a wonderful GOD of a man and I am not looking forward to getting those bags back downstairs. Dammit, why did I pack so much?

img_3219Florence is incredible. It’s hard to describe it but it makes Rome look very dirty and congested. Not that it’s less crowded here. It’s very crowded. Considering this is not a touristy time of year, I am really surprised by how crowded it is. Our first day we waited in line for the “best sandwich in the world” at All’Antico Vinaio. It really was the best sandwich I have ever had and I ate every single bite of mine. We then toured the Galileo Museum which is steps from our front door. Very cool. Sort of the history of science and technology…more accurately, the history of the study of science and technology. We both needed some veg time so we returned to our room for some rest which turned into naps for both of us. After a few hours of rest, we walked to a local eatery called Trattoria Nella that had been recommended to us. I am starting to get Trattoria fatigue but we each had a delicious salad and pasta. I think my aunt could have pasta for every meal but I need something different soon. The food is incredible but every menu is identical and I am ready for some sushi or something else. We had a nice after dinner walk  and made our first trip past some of the most popular tourist sights in Florence.

Yesterday was my favorite day so far. I woke up early and went for a five mile run down the river near our apartment and then through the side streets of Florence. It really is the best way to see a city. After showering, we went in search of an American style breakfast which includes eggs and found something next to the Duomo. I don’t really know how Italians survive without morning protein. It’s a must have for me. We spent the next several hours walking and shopping and just being tourists. I found some beautiful gifts for my kids and something for my house to remember Florence by. We then headed toward our 2PM tour. When we arrived, it turned out our tour was for the following day. It’s become difficult to keep track of what day it is which means this vacation just got REAL It’s also a 7-8 time difference to my kids at home which makes communication way too difficult and I am beginning to miss them HARD.

There is a church on the outskirts of Florence that was on my list so we headed that way via the bus since the afternoon was suddenly free. OMG so glad we made it there. San Miniato is by far the most beautiful place we have seen. We walked through, prayed inside, lit candles for our img_3302moms and spent over an hour just walking through the incredible cemetery that surrounds the grounds. Wow. And the view of Florence below is really fantastic. img_3311

Afterwarimg_3338ds, we successfully took the bus back to the center of Florence. Thank you GOOGLE MAPS, you rock my world. We found a very trendy food spot called Fishing Lab. It was one of my favorite meals of the trip with some raw Tuna to start and delicious steamed Sea Bass for the main course. Tonia wasn’t a fan but she can have pasta for every meal. I needed a change of pace so I was grateful for the different style of food.  It was very light and healthy.

Our room was noisy last night because we have a bar in the alley under our apartment. I wasn’t too bothered by it but Tonia had a hard time sleeping. I decided I needed a break this morning from sightseeing so I am alone in our room listening to the sound of the city below and typing my memories here so they aren’t lost or faded when I return.

Today, I feel incredibly grateful for this trip. I feel like I miss my babies so much. I am overwhelmed by the desire to share this experience with them. Especially my teenagers because I know they would really understand and appreciate it. I spent a lot of time imagining bringing my daughter to Florence when she graduates from college. I would like to take her to Paris and Florence. I would like to take her to the beach during the summer here. I haven’t been to a European beach yet, but I know she would love it.

Something weird happened night before last, I dreamt a very powerful dream about forgiveness. In the dream, I was at an event in the coliseum in Rome, but it wasn’t ancient, it was like a concert hall. It was clearly the coliseum but there were chairs like a sport stadium or theatre. I was walking to my seat when I spotted someone from my past that I have struggled to forgive. I turned back, as I usually do  in real life when I see her. I went to the restroom, where I often go during crowded events, because I ALWAYS HAVE TO PEE and because bathrooms are convenient hiding places for introverts like me. I came out of my stall and this person was standing at the sink and I thought, “FUCK” because there was no place to hide. Our eyes met and we stood there and then we walked toward each other and embraced. We stood holding each other and saying we were sorry and it was very heartfelt and honest and beautiful. And then I looked up into the mirror and I was holding my own self, I was embracing myself. I woke up crying and lay in the room looking at the ceiling for quite a while and feeling a sense of peace I haven’t felt in a long time.

Because that’s it, isn’t it?

Forgiving myself is what is holding me back. I know it. I can’t fix it by magic.

Or pressure. Or demands.

It takes time.

As long as it takes.It takes as long as it takes.

And maybe you have to go halfway around the world to get there.

But it’s good and Italy is a wonderful place for that.

Bellisimo!

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The Most Exciting Time of Your Life

I watch stupid TV in the background when I am doing other things like folding laundry or washing dishes or paying bills. My favorites are Say Yes to the Dress and What Not to Wear. Both shows are fashion oriented. They are silly and light and they make me happy. Say Yes to the Dress is a 30 minute show that focuses on two women every episode as they choose their bridal gown at an exclusive bridal store in NYC called Kleinfeld’s.  There are always tears when the perfect gown is found. I love it. My favorite bridal consultant is Randy, the “sassy gay” consultant. He gives great advice to brides and is always willing to stand up to overbearing family members who aren’t allowing the bride to choose the gown she wants to wear on her wedding day. He is funny and adorable. But a few weeks ago, I watched an episode where Randy said something that stuck in my mind and has been resonating with me ever since. A bride was struggling to separate what her family wanted and what she wanted and was overwhelmed with the stress of the decisions and Randy told her, “this is the most exciting time of your entire life. You need to be happy with the dress you choose.”

Ok, yes, she should be happy with the dress she chooses. But the most exciting time of her life? A wedding? Wrong, wrong, wrong…NO Randy No. I found myself yelling at the TV in frustration. If your wedding is the most exciting time of your life, where do you go from there?  When the wedding is over, is it all downhill from there?

It’s not. Not even close. And I am annoyed with Randy for even saying it.

I want to interject here and say yes, I got divorced. But my wedding day was pretty much exactly the wedding I wanted. It was a great wedding. I felt beautiful and in love and ridiculously happy. If you had told me I would someday divorce, I would have pushed you down and kicked dirt on your stupid face in dismay. This blog isn’t about weddings or divorces, it’s about the way we set ourselves up for disappointment when we believe that significant events are anything more than just one significant event in a lifetime of important events.

Is a significant event even a contender for the most exciting time of our lives? God, I hope not.

The births of all of my three children were incredibly exciting and significant.

Every milestone I have celebrated with them has been thrilling.

Moving to Texas from California was pretty fucking exciting and significant.

Getting my master’s degree.

Starting a second career in my 40’s.

Taking my daughter to college and saying goodbye.

Oh hell, coming out as a lesbian and finally living my truth has been pretty darned exciting and significant. Challenging as hell, but definitely a contender for the “most exciting time in my life.”

So, Randy…I am going to take you to task on this one, mister. Weddings are an important event but they aren’t the most exciting time of anyone’s lifetime. And if they are, well that sucks for that person. What a disappointing life that would be.

So here is the thing, and the point I hope to make…I am not sure single events are ever the most exciting time of our lives. I think life is an ebb and flow of hard times and happy times and boring times and sad times. But generally, events like weddings or even children’s births, while they are the most powerful, life altering moments in our lives, they are super blurry once time has passed. I have spent the last few weeks asking other people  my age to make sure I am not totally off base here. Everyone I talked to admitted they remember very little from their wedding day. Several talked about how the memories are all attached to photographs because the photographic record has helped them lock in certain memories. Most of them talked about silly moments during that time period that had little to do with the actual wedding itself like getting gas in a crystal tiara and sweat pants after visiting the hair salon on their wedding day. For me, it’s the night I spent in the hotel before the wedding with my bridesmaids where no one slept at all and I insisted on sleeping in the rollaway cot because I couldn’t stand the thought of anyone being uncomfortable. I remember giggling a lot that night. But I don’t remember why.

I am going to Europe in five days with my Aunt. This is a trip that has been in the back of my mind for years. I started planning it over a year ago. I bought the plane ticket about 8 months ago. I absolutely can’t believe I am going. I told my boss that I won’t be checking in. I know I will miss my kids like crazy but I cannot wait for this grown up, amazing adventure to begin.

Right now, I have a deep, loving, and authentic relationship with all of my kids.

I have a beautiful home. Great friends. A job I love where I feel respected and valued. I have enough money to live comfortably.

I am happy and fulfilled. It’s not perfect. There are still yucky days and difficult moments.

But, it feels to me that right now is the most exciting time in my life. And I am certain I have many, many more exciting times to come. I can’t wait to experience them.

us-passport-ct-1k

 

Alright Universe, quit it.

Rule of three’s.

For a theatre person, it’s all about comedy. Do something funny three times and bam, the audience will go wild.

But it’s also a wise tale of “bad things come in three’s”. I’ve never believed in it.

Until this week.

First up, whirlwind romance ends…badly.

Six weeks. A six week romance.

I actually sent a text to my best friend that said “Mark my words, I am going to marry this woman.”

I said that…after a month.

I was doing the lesbian happy dance.

(There isn’t a dance, I made that up.)

I wasn’t packing my u-haul but I was imagining how I might pack it someday.

It was a roller coaster six week romance where I allowed myself…pretty much for the first time since 1992, to imagine spending my life with someone. I decorated my Christmas tree thinking, “maybe I won’t do this alone next year”. I imagined vacations, long walks, music, dancing,  laughing, dreaming, loving, and of course, lots and lots of sexy time. Everything about her was perfect. I imagined myself finding the love of my life.

Blah. Yeah, I know.

I know.  My eyes hurt from rolling them so hard at myself.

Keep shaking your head at me….I get it. I am an idiot.

So it ended, badly. But I kept getting up everyday, going for runs, working my ass off, loving my kids, feeding my dogs, paying my bills, buying ten different kinds of nails at every store in town to hang my Christmas wreath on the brick fireplace. (I need to insert here that I successfully hung that wreath and it’s super pretty.)

I was sad, but my badass self kept right on fucking going.

Because that’s what I do. If I am anything, I am resilient.

Dammit.

Then number #2…the completely insane family news. The kind of news that you ask your family to sit down because you “have some news, so you BETTER SIT DOWN”. I mean, seriously…it’s so not ok…this shitty ass I can’t blog about but it’s really shitty can’t wrap your brain around it kind of news.

That’s all I have to say about that.

But mark my words, oh fabulous three blog followers…I kept right on marching. With that stupid piece of shit news in my head. I kept going, and going, and going. I even said this morning on my run to #AmazingRunningPartner something ridiculous like, “I just don’t have all these ups and downs anymore. I just can’t do it. I really want a happy life. I rarely feel depressed to the point where I can’t function anymore.”

Today was a busy day…big event at work…so many volunteers and so much responsibility on my shoulders. Off I went, like the little energizer bunny that I am.

Then the phone rang. I ignored it. Step-mom, no… too busy right now.

The texts start rolling in:

“Your dad had to be taken to the hospital, he’s in renal failure.”

“I don’t know anything. I just needed to tell you.”

My dad? That’s impossible. He’s young. And sassy as a mother fucker…he’s not in renal failure…he’s like a 12 year old boy…that’s insane.

But it’s a fact. A fact that exists separate from my zen philosophy of “ride the wave of the circumstances of your life…there are sad parts and happy parts and all the parts in between and you just can’t fight the feelings, you just have to let it wash over you”.

I went for a drive. I left my amazing staff in charge at the event for a little while. I sobbed and prayed in my car and lamented all the unfinished business I have with my dad.

And I thought about this:

The rule of three’s exists because human beings can only handle so much shit thrown at them. Three is kind of the max for shitty happenings.

You hear that universe? You hear that?

I am done. We are good.

Go kick someone else’s ass now. I will never underestimate you again.

Thank you for the reminder that I don’t know anything about anything. At all.

And now,

I invoke the rule of three’s.

 

 

 

 

The Hardest Part

“Kids don’t stay with you if you do it right. It’s the one job where, the better you are, the more surely you won’t be needed in the long run.” – Barbara Kingsolver

“I realized when you look at your mother, you are looking at the purest love you will ever know.” – Mitch Albom

“Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world, a mother’s love is not.” – James Joyce

I have been a mom for about eighteen and a half years now. That time has been bumpy and beautiful. It has been filled with suffering and bliss.

Like Life.

I am pretty sure I have said at least 1,000 times in the past eighteenish years of mothering,

“this is the hardest part.”

I remember sitting on one of those exercise balls with my infant daughter, bouncing up and down while she screamed non-stop for hours and I thought to myself that nothing had prepared me for this experience. And when she finally stopped, nothing was more joyful.

I remember having a two year old and a newborn when the two year old came down with one of those horrific childhood illnesses (hand, foot, and mouth disease…who the fuck knew there was such a thing?). Her mouth was filled with bleeding sores, she ate nothing for days, and the pediatrician told me to keep her away from the baby because it could be really ugly if he got it too. My husband was out of town, I was all alone and I thought for sure I would never survive that very long week.

I did.

I survived many more illnesses after that. The colds, the flus, the stomach viruses, the appendix rupturing, the stitches, and the broken bones. I survived the first day of school, middle school and high school. I made it through long, mind numbing days as a stay at home mom where I wondered if I could possibly play polly pockets or tea party or hot wheels one more time without screaming. I made it through angry teen years made more difficult by a divorce. I crawled through months where my children barely spoke to me and when they did speak, they said hateful and cruel things. And recently, I got to do the senior in high school party phase with alcohol experimentation and boyfriends who “accidentally slept over”.

I am the proud mother of an adult now. I survived it all.

And with the hardest parts, it was, is…the most important and wonderful thing I have ever done. I am filled with pride, and love, and gratitude for the gift of being my children’s mother.

But today, as I lay in a hotel room bed, typing on my computer in the middle of the night because I can’t seem to fall asleep…I think I might be doing the hardest part.

Letting go.

Tomorrow I have to let go.

Of my sweet little baby girl. The one who made me a mom. The one who is now taller than I am.

The one in the bed next to me, wearing our matching pajamas we got today…so we could call each other and wear our matching “owl jammies” (her idea).

She is sleeping soundly, silently beside me.

Somewhere along the line she became an amazingly good sleeper. Even though she never slept at all her first seven or eight years. Yep. She can sleep through anything now.

She slept the whole plane ride here.

Today we shopped like only the women in my family can shop. From store to store to store. We got all the things for her college apartment. We spent at least an hour in TJ Maxx trying to decide which throw pillows would match her bed spread the best. We went with her choice and it turned out she was right. She’s got style, that kid.

And tomorrow we will finish the apartment. We will spend some time pouring over maps with her dad, trying to understand how she will navigate the campus bus system to get to class and to practice. We will stock her kitchen with groceries. We will probably have dinner with her room mates and their parents.

And then, at some point, we will say goodbye.

My GOD, what is the big deal…she will be home for Thanksgiving? It’s not like I am never going to see her again. She has barely been home for the past year, she has been so busy.

But I am laying here, with water falling out of my eyes and I can honestly say that this is the hardest part.

so far anyway.

The cool part about being a mom this long is that I have the perspective of knowing that there will always be hard parts and that they will always be worth it and that I will always survive them. I see women my age with their moms and I sometimes want to ask them if it gets any easier..but I suspect I already know the answer.

It changes but there are always hard parts…worry, stress, fear.

I am holding onto her childhood. I am struggling to let it go, to let her go.

 

Daily life without my lily…yuck.

Yuck.

I like her so much.

The beautiful, sassy, sweet, funny, curious, shy, quiet, loving, and intelligent woman she has become.

She is nothing like I thought she would be.

She is so much more.

A piece of me, but not me at all.

Aspects of me, but completely and absolutely different than me.

My excitement for her journey toward the next phase of her life will outweigh my own sadness tomorrow and I will hug her and kiss her and I will try really hard not to weep when I walk away. But I probably will. Sorry Lily, that’s who I am, a crier. Like my mother was.

And just like I made it through the hand, foot, and mouth disease…I will make it through the college drop off because that’s moms do.

 

 

 

 

Go away reality, I am playing Pokemon Go

A few months ago one of my pets died. On the day that it happened I screamed and wept and then the next day I buried my sweet pet, digging in the hot Texas soil until my palms bled and sobbing. Over the next couple of days,  I moved on.

I am not a “move on” quickly kinda person and I knew it was weird that I was taking it so well. I tend to hold onto things forever. FOREVER. So the simple release was uncharacteristic of me. It was a relief.

Then 50 people were killed in a nightclub in Orlando.

And then more shootings.

Cops killing unarmed black men.

Snipers going after cops and killing them in Dallas.

And then the terrorist attack in Paris.

The entire period I turned off the news.

I stopped reading the paper or my favorite news magazine.

I only clicked on cute animal videos on social media.

I picked up a People magazine to read the stories of the people who had died and I put it down again. I couldn’t read it.

And then it became clear that Donald Trump had a real chance of being president.

And everyone on social media was screaming and yelling at each other.

“Only ignorant white people want Trump for president.”

“Hillary is a lying, cheating, sneaky, evil barely human being who will destroy America. I will vote for anyone besides her.”

And then PokeMon Go arrived and all I wanted to do is play it with my sons. Driving around and walking through parks and parking lots trying to capture all the Pokemon…pulling over to collect poke balls, spending time talking about our Pokedek and what this or that can evolve into.

It’s been awesome. It hasn’t even been hard to pretend none of this other stuff has been happening in the world. I have been happy in my self inflicted state of numbness. It has been very nice.

Then some minor incident happened a week or so ago.

And suddenly I am not numb anymore.

Suddenly, I can’t stop feeling all the things.

Anger, and sadness, and rage.

I cannot open facebook and see another political rant. I cannot stand it if another person walks into a public place and starts shooting random people. Please stop doing that, people. Stop it.

This negatively, this ugliness, this anger that surrounds us…I can’t take it. It’s like a dark cloud that surrounds us.

It’s got me.

I tell people who love me that I am in a funk I can’t snap out of.

Since I admitted it I have had at least six people tell me they are in it too.

Maybe it’s a case of noticing it when I am enveloped in it.

Or maybe it’s just going around.

I wonder if our choices are Pokemon go or being completely devastated by the state of our world?

I know there is a third choice, of course there is but I can’t find it right now.

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”

mmm…hmmm…be the change.

It’s easy to feel like the world is in turmoil.

It seems easy to keep contributing to it.

And I am.

I know I am.

Snapping off, road rage, shortness, edge.

How about a blog that ends without any solutions?

Without any words of wisdom.

I wonder if there are any Pokemon around my house right now?