Monday, September 30, 2013

another homework assignment- human nature

I spent four summers, plus a little here and there, canvassing in northern Maine.  I spoke with literally hundreds of people.  I have been close friends with a woman who was ritualistically abused, with the purpose of splintering her into hundreds of personalities.  I was raised by one woman who fought against the abuse she had been handed by closing herself off to love and hope and honesty.  The other woman who raised me was nothing but a shell, broken and dissolved into countless cups of vodka and diet soda, who never fully developed an ability to stand up for what she believed or say what she thought.  I have little or no contact with half of my very tiny family.  When I let my internal tapes of self deprecation and fear run my life, I found dozens of people willing and able to take advantage of that state in any number of ways.

I also spent several months working with kids who were abandoned, abused, neglected, and messed up in more ways than you can count.  One of them spent an evening trying to beat me with a broom stick, one of them ran from class so often that when I wasn't there to stop him one day, he ran into the street and was hit by a (slow moving, thank goodness) car.  One had bipolar disorder and his mother used to take his medication now and then.  One day when she did, I watched him fly across a series of desks to beat the hell out of another kid joking around and pushing his buttons.  On a day when he had his meds at school and he was sick and stuffed up, I saw he had a mildly infected cut on his hand.  I got a cup of warm water and hydrogen peroxide, sat beside him, put my arm around his shoulder, placed his cut finger in the water and had him rest his 7 year old head on my side.  He looked at me with deep brown/black eyes and asked if I had any kids.  I said "Just you" and I felt him melt into me.

Human nature is to need.  And to survive.  There is anger and hatred and selfishness, more so when we were deprived in one way or another.  When we are hurt, we strike back.  When we are abandoned, we close ourselves off and walk away from everyone reaching.  Human nature is to fear; we fear being seen, misunderstood, sometimes being understood and known.  We fear others and their ability to not like us.  We fear our desire to be liked.  Or we fear that others will see that we are afraid.

I think there is too much in our heads that is hard to describe and explain.  Every single one of us has access to infinite perfection and deep selfishness bordering on and, perhaps even stepping into, evil.  I have no idea what makes some of us go in various directions.  I realized a long time ago that I didn't believe in a regular path of fate.  Instead, I believed in fate as a series of branching paths.  We are constantly given options.  We choose much of where we go.  But each branch or path is a certain length and when we make one choice, we must follow that path until we find ourselves at another crossroads.  And again we choose, and again we walk for some predetermined amount of time and distance.  We choose and are corralled, each in it's own turn.

I feel the honesty of the quote by Ovid "I see the right, and I approve it too, condemn the wrong, and yet the wrong pursue."  I have done this over and over.  

I also think that we are all doing the best we can with the hand we are dealt.  That means our minds, our hearts, and our experiences.  I wonder if we have more interactions and experiences with different people, if we are more open to honesty, if not to good.

And of course, I see the impact of death and retrospection when we are the ones left behind.  People, sweet people, tell me they believe things happen for a reason.  I just don't see that. I see, like I said many entries back, that we are here for no real reason that we can truly grasp.  And so we are, in effect, here for the same reason as the trees, the grass, the ants, and buzzards and spiders and dolphins.  We are here because we are here.  And since we are here, and here tends to be so damned hard, the only thing that matters is how to ease the journeys of our fellow travelers.  We need to walk lightly holding many hands.  Because perhaps what we all fear most, is being unloved and alone. 

My problem with my understanding of human nature is that I just don't understand why people are mean.  I don't understand why people judge.  I don't understand why people are dishonest about so much.  I know it is simplistic.  I know we can't all get along and be friends.  Human nature involves misunderstanding and hurt and sadness and lashing out and reaching out and...too many things to write down.  It is tiring, and I think in circles when I think of this.  Because I know I am just as guilty.  I know I have made choices that have hurt, that are selfish and stupid.  It is the quote by Ovid again...

So what do I add to my credo?  Love?  Confusion?  Ineptitude?  Short sightedness?  Simple compassion?  Fear?

We forget what water is all the time, because life is routine.  We forget life is a gift filled with opportunities to connect and nourish and support and love.  And instead it becomes a series of meaningless steps from one moment to another.  And an exercise in judging those who make us step in other directions, in paths we were trying to conquer.  And then it becomes misguided attempts at closing ourselves off from everything that could be good. 

Sunday, September 29, 2013


The colors I am holding right now are pink, gold, and green.  I have paired this with compassion, integrity, and self worth.

I have made choices in my life that are not honorable.  The honorable thing is that I am trying to let them go.  I came to them through a desire to not be afraid.  The compassionate part is that I am loving myself enough to allow that, while I made mistakes, I am not (right now) judging myself for them. 

I reached for strength.  My history is peppered with people and words and many moments in which I found I was not worth much.  My desire to feel my self worth has always had me railing against these situations.  I never stopped trying to fight them.  For a while, I fought them by embracing them.  That didn't work very well because it fed the demon.  When I realized that, I continued to try to fight.  But fighting yourself, the words in your head, your feelings, your pain...that is counter productive. 

So a figure from the past came into my sphere and offered kindness.  That kindness stepped over the lines of integrity.  I went willingly, happily.  I am very glad I did.  Because I needed the help of this figure.  He mistreated me, years and years ago.   I have always had periods of my life when I was facing backwards, in an attempt to understand and identify and heal.  It was in this period John entered my sphere.  He didn't understand why I was looking backwards, and kept telling me to move forward.  I knew enough to tell him to just let me do what I was doing- I was searching for old wounds, to break again what had been broken and set incorrectly.  I was searching out the pain, not to add more, but to create a more appropriate cast.  To heal more fully.  He listened and supported me.  For hours and hours every night.  And that is likely why I fell in love with him.

A huge part of this battle has been seeing myself as worthy of good things.  When you grow up with verbal abuse, the voices in your head, the old tapes, are not very helpful.  Mine centered around my inner goddess, for lack of a better term.  The part of me that wanted love and sex and touch and tenderness.  It took a huge amount of time to learn, at least in part, that I did not have to see that part as a tool.  That when I did, I got the wrong things. 

My journey in these parts of my soul came to some strange tangled forest after I had our first child and my body changed on me.  I still had this deep seated belief that my worth, my value, was tied to my body and my looks.  John never stopped being attracted to me, but I doubted his love for me.  I was not an athlete, or a coach...and I thought by marrying me, he had settled because he couldn't get one of those things.  In reality, he went outside his comfort zone to be with me since I wasn't one of those things.  He loved me for who I was.  But when I gained the 60 pounds that came with our babies, I thought I wasn't beautiful anymore.  Combine that with all the young athletes he coached and the powerful coaches he was friends with, whether or not they were past lovers (and some were), I felt small and wrong and unattractive.  He never was so great with words- he used too many, and too often the wrong ones.  He could speak to a crowd.  Speaking to me, he was often lost.  Perhaps that is because my love of the right word was intimidating.

Either way, he died before we could reconcile this.  He left me in a place where I doubted my beauty, my worth, my desirability.

This figure from my past not only knew some of my buttons, he was one.  He was the first one.  And he gave me the gift of, showing me that I was so much more to him than was apparent in our mistake.  He gave me the gift of knowing that I held an incredible place in his heart, that I did then and I did for years.

So now that I see this, I can employ integrity.  I can wish this person more happiness than should be legal.  How brave and true to not stop trying to face your mistakes.  How brave and real to try to make amends for something that cannot be fixed.  But being open to him and what he carries in his heart enabled as much fixing as possible.

So now, the challenge is to have the courage to let that affirmation go.  I have to know that it is there, and not check in on it.  I have to know inside myself, without John, without this figure, without anyone else beside me.  I have to know I am beautiful, I am worthy, I am amazing.  All by myself.  With my grief, my anger, my fear that I am trying to let wash over me, through me, and go beyond me...he has said over and over we will "just know".  I didn't get that until today.

And as I think about the teenage girl I was when he took something from me, I love her.  And as I think about the woman that I am now, who allowed him to try to give it back, I love him.  And in loving the two of us from so long ago, perhaps I can allow the love that John had for me to flow through everything I do from here forward.  Perhaps I can walk into the future with John in my mind and heart to guide my steps. 

For he is not gone, when I hold him close.  And he chose me above everyone else.  He chose the woman not from his world, because I am adventurous, athletic, I can throw and catch with ease, I laugh loud and easily, I am smart and sexy, sweet and playful...perhaps now I can learn to see me through his eyes.  Perhaps I can move forward in a way that will make him proud.

I know I will still get too angry.  I know I have oceans of tears left.  A friend at church today said that she missed John.  She said that she wished he had been there, at the 10 year anniversary of the dedication of the building we are in now.  I cried.  She apologized.  I told her not to do that.  She said she didn't want to make me cry.  And she didn't.  The tears are there and they need to come to help me heal.  I keep them inside because I need to function.  I don't push them away, but I don't call to them, either.  They just hover right behind my eyes.  And when someone else talks of their love of him, how they miss him, the things they would like to share with him or the things that did share...that keeps him alive.  That invites the tears out, letting me know that it is safe for them to come.  That is a gift.  My job is to tell you when I can't do that, because there are times when I can't.  But I am certainly strong enough to say if it is the time or not.  Strong enough for that.  Strong enough for much more than I ever thought.

I am a woman warrior. 

I am not alone.  Even in my solitude.  What a strange gift from a strange place.  I love that I am open to strangeness.  I thank this person deeply.  I thank John for loving me.  I thank my friend for talking about him.  I hate the universe and cancer for taking him.  I know he will never be gone because I swear on everything I love that I will fight for the best in me as a way to honor him and the love he had for me.  And when I feel like maybe my strength isn't enough, he will always be inside me.  He, in his entirety...and pieces of others, moments, words, gifts of courage, baring bodies and souls, reaching, is nothing, if it is not connection.  I will try to connect.  I will accept the gift of even odd connections.  Because that is what they are.  They are a gift.  They are everything....

Saturday, September 28, 2013

too much sometimes

I guess I have been doing okay most of the time.  Today, not so much.  I don't know what it is.  But after baking this morning, I haven't been able to get up to do anything really.  And Neil decided to take the stuff I baked onto the floor, open the containers, and eat some.  And leave the rest for the dogs to get.  This is after I offered him lunch, and he said "no" to everything I suggested. I saved the banana bread, but the pumpkin chocolate chip cookies didn't make it.  I was so angry.  Completely out of proportion.  I scared Cilly.  Oh and the house is a wreck.  And I just can't find anything inside me right now.  I feel like a shell.  It's too damn much.  Too much responsibility.  Too much sadness, pain, frustration.  Too many moments to mess up.  I screamed that I hate being a mother.  I couldn't shut my mouth-I felt the words bubbling and tried to stop them...I slowed them...and they still came out.  And Neil said he was sorry and he would never ever do it again.  And I just want to shrivel up.  Damn it all.  I thought I was doing so well...I haven't felt the anger for a skin feels hot and cold...not like a fever, just like confusion.  I'm just. So. Tired.  and I want him back.  and I want me back.  I want so many things I cannot have.

Like those cookies.  I really wanted more of them. 

I remember telling John how I was so scared.  How I had to live after he was gone and how that was just so intimidating and overwhelming.  I don't know that he ever got that.  His fate was worse.  I think it is fair to say that mine is harder.  Although I do hate that stupid word: fair.  It never seems to help anyone.

I think I should have taken a nap.  Maybe that would have helped.  Maybe I would have dreamed of puppy dogs and rainbows. 

I still would have woken up and had to wade through the mess that is this house.  I still wouldn't have known what to do with half the stuff here.  I would still feel mostly empty. 

I wish I had someone to hold me while I cried.  That would be nice, in a sort of sad way.

Friday, September 27, 2013

enter the night

enter the night with warm skin
softly thrumming
the smell of lavender, vanilla, and a cool fall night
I have done less
of the bad things
the closing things

I have tried to be calm
breathe slower
let people hear my heart
a little

each day is a new moment
to listen to things that surround you
so that you can try to blend
your voice to twist and harmonize
to the world you live in

and in soft moments
I wonder what I want
widowed and wandering
it is different, at times, from what I need
to pass from moment to moment

the glue that binds you to love
that is untouchable
the lubricant that enables you
to slide more gently across
the ragged edges
the claret liquid lapping
at hungry lips and making eyelids
droop, perhaps just a little too much

enter the night, each night
with empty arms
and a heart full of hope
for things undefined

allow for the ticking that trembles
beneath the surface of your brain
cradle the monkey mind, hold hands
with each moment of horror and breaking heart
These are the things
that make you

As inside the breaking
you find you are made
mixed up, confused.
Still growing.

So enter the night
with warm soft skin
soothing darkness pin pricked with white light
moments of magic
hold a tiny hand in your own, stroke
the smooth, perfect cheek
let the dog nuzzle his way beneath the blankets
to settle at the back of your knees.

are the things
that will, somehow,
fill the soft and shattered parts
that will, somehow,
allow the pain
to grow

Into more than you might think.

As the decimated forest
post fire
bears more fertile fruit
so, I believe, my heart
will learn even more love

so I welcome the tears
when they arrive
I will try not to judge
my laughter or my longing

and I will remember
to enter the night
slowly.  softly.  quietly
And open.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

looking forward?

Ugh!  Tonight's homework from class is to write about things you look forward to.  I just don't know right now.  Which isn't to say there isn't laughter.  There totally is...I work with seven year old's and have three kids 7 and under.  Perhaps for some that might be frightening, and I will TOTALLY admit to the fact that sometimes having so many small humans in my life is beyond overwhelming!  But I love kids, so....

I have a friend that teaches high school and he has at least a couple classes of repeat freshman.  I have had more disciplinary issues in second grade than he has.  My only explanation is that seven year old kids who are struggling have no filter.  So the behaviors my friend likely gets are way worse, and not as consistent.  Perhaps one of the ways that consistency sort of sucks...The good thing is that none of this has even come close to rattling my belief that kids are good, and choices vary from moment to moment.

So I come back to what I look forward to.  I think about my dog walk sunrises.  Those are amazing.
I am taking photos in the hopes that I remember the lovely on the days to come when there is rain and when it is snowy and cold and crappy.  (As well as for other reasons.  Sunsets have good memories for me.)

I look forward to the hugs from my students, especially those I don't expect.  Sometimes they sneak up on me.

I look forward to the odd and infrequent moments when my 7 year old lets me give him a kiss and we look at each other and compete with silly expressions and he makes me belly laugh.  (First time that happened was today, and I hope for more)

I look forward to the times when I have a moment to enjoy the crazy sweetness that exists inside the tiny armed hugs of my daughter- oh wow, those are amazing.

I look forward to writing things that make people happy, that others hear and get (in some way).

I look forward to singing

I look forward to reading good books.  But I really really wish Patrick Rothfuss wold write more!  I want his next novel like I want a drug.  I am, however, reading Vonnegut's Slapstick, which is something of an autobiography, so I look forward to that.

Trying hard to find more...the other part of the homework was a summary statement.  I don't know what to do with that.  So I will think on it and get back to you.

This site lets me see where in the world people are checking out my entries.  I have readers in Serbia and China, Brazil (Mal?), and England...I need some Aussie readers...and I would love to hear from you guys.  I sit on my falling apart sofa, drinking too much wine, or lovely Yogi tea, and I am alone...I have a fantastic community, but there are only a few subscribers here.  If I write something that touches you, helps you, connects us in some strange moment, let me know.  It would be very comforting to know that the void that my words and heart go out to can say "hi" back....

Just a thought.  Perhaps that would be something I could look forward to as well....?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

sacred sexuality, journeys and reenchantment

I come back, again, to forgiveness.
It is the foundation of everything.
Forgive your own indiscretions, as well as
the indiscretions of others.  which does not
allow for purposeful
disrespect, chaos, foolishness

We each are gods and goddesses
in our own stumbling dance
across the deserts plains and mountains
we are mortal messes
attempting connection, searching
for peace and joy and something
even larger

We are the living embodiments
of imperfection and confusion

Myriad manifestations
inside each mind
and the only thing
that is right
is to keep trying
to be better than
the last time.  Or if not better simply

The best magic trick is that there is anything here
at all.*

How loud it is, in our heads
Such a small place
encased in something solid
events and ideas and Being
clang around as if in a cage
causing so many
quick changes

if we open up
crack through the crust
and connect to everything
the world...would...slow

the cacophony quiets
dispersing pain and joy
to mix with the sea of souls
to share and spread and even out,
the static.

Mutants and Mystics
what a wonderful idea.
Eroticism and mysticism
We are binary, oppositional not in antagonistic ways
but black to white, self to other
because that makes sense
But nondual is the base of this
Not one, but
also not separate, instead
an instance of coexistence

Circling back to see the past pains and imprudence
giving the gift of seeing these as more
See the beauty
of self and mind
See the power
of forgiveness and progression
without anger or regret
even without fear
And with a heavy load
of love
respect and the ability to embrace
that Self, the integrity inside insecurity, the sexuality
the physical the spiritual
the MORE.  

There is a gift in touch
in the tingles that liven the living parts
there is power in that moment
when your passion, your thought, your hopes and fears
explode in fire
There is power and healing
and a special sort of grace
in the version of truth which exists
for each couple
each climax, each connection

The warrior, the bear, the moon in every phase
the hand that reaches through it's own darkness
to connect inside the darkness
of another

Forgive yourself your indiscretions
and the indiscretions of others
and in forgiveness
forge the perfect key
not to any answer
but to a darkened path that leads

Somewhere new, next
to the place where you can bring the Spirit back
the path to reenchantment
even if you never knew you were enchanted
in the first place.

*from "Holy Now" by Peter Mayer

Monday, September 23, 2013

Myth/Parable for class

The story should be about forgiveness, since that is part of my discovery of the wholeness from which we all should try to function.  And love.  And breaking down our own delusions just enough to let the light from everyone seep in...

I find I think of the Buddha at Bedtime stories, specifically the little bird who tried, with his tears, to quench the forest fire rather than save himself.  But that is less right, because the idea is to have a flawed main character, one who softly harms another, and who is still forgiven and, in being forgiven, learns also to forgive, to love
Characters:  mother bear, broken and lost (Milda, a Lithuanian goddess of love and freedom); woman warrior (Lilith, Adam's first wife made at the same time as him, demon, one who refused to be dominated and chose independence)
Setting:  somewhere else, old, forested, perhaps a clearing like Terabithia
Problem: in her broken state, the bear attacks.  The warrior without her weapons, in her own grief, is taken by surprise and almost killed
Solution: time; as they lay beside each other healing, each learns to help the other, betraying everything they stand for in small ways, yet learning to trust and depend.  And they merge to grow into something more.

"Strength does not always look like you thought it would.  In fact, sometimes you can be strong and not even realize it.  And if you allow yourself to love, and to be loved, for real, there is nothing you can't do, nothing you cannot be."

After her Great Loss, Lilith set down her warrior's weapons and wandered lost.  Her eyes were blinded by what she knew she should have been.  Her limbs were weakened by a pain that broke her spirit from the rest of the world.  Her ears did not hear.  Her bare feet bleeding did not feel.  She stumbled into a clearing that meant nothing to her.  And here, she crumbled to her knees to weep without tears, her strength ebbing into the dry earth beneath her, leaving an empty shell.

In the shadows nearby, wounded and angered hid the mother bear Milda. Her grief was also great, but her power still raged.  Blind and full of fury, Milda charges Lillith.  The woman screams, the bear roars and skin and fur blend with blood till each lies down, taken into blackness.  It is here that the universe tilts...somehow, by the hand of gods, invisible and fluid, one leaks into the other.  Lilith, being near the stream, drinks the water and spills.  Milda laps the small puddle and finds the strength to reach the bush beside her, ripe with berries.  Her paws, too weak to clench, offer her lips but the barest taste, the rest tumbling from her sharp and deadly grasp to a place where Lilith can reach.

Days pass, the moon grows small again.  Neither creature sees, and each one soothes and shares, giving both unknowingly and gratuitously.  Until the next night when the moon is a distant cup full to overflowing with blue white water and their eyes are clear.  Their death and weakness were neither.  And since there is no going back, the goddess of love and freedom and the first wife demon warrior woman each stand, one beside the other, moving forward.  Neither is ever alone, for each is now inside the other.  And so each finds that they are everything.

 Bear Woman Dancing by Susan Seddon Boulet

Nothing ever has

sometimes, I feel like I want to die.  But
I know that can't be right.

So I wish, instead,
that there was a way
to move through time while parts of you slept
So you don't have to see it all

Forgiveness is the gift.  Regret is the weight.  Time
is the only fix for anything.

With time, come chances,
changes.  I don't want these changes.
I have no choice

I have to keep talking to myself because silent
in my head
I go down the wrong path.
When I put it on the page, the wrong path just seems

I am here.
I have to keep trying.
Each time something breaks, it is a gift.
I am trying to learn how to do things
the right way.

As long as I don't stop trying
as long as I stop trying to rush,
I believe I will be okay. I've
been one to shy away from chances
or from change.

If I take a wrong path, I have to remember
Warriors can cut through the woods to find the right road.
Warriors can make a new path

I have the tools
although I may have to sharpen
my scythe
perhaps even find a chainsaw to get through
this time.

But get through I will and here is why:
I'm different
I may need to be alone
I have done that and I can do it again
the difference is I choose to be
to the next step
I will NOT close my heart
the hard part is
it may take years
That, and little eyes are watching

And now, I am aware of the limits of time
I know there is an end
I don't want to waste time
And there is the problem.  Being alone
isn't wasting time
It feels that way though. Things are hazy,
too easy to lose
when you are alone

On the worry wheel my spokes
are mostly the same
I am scared I will be alone forever
scared no one will ever see me
from the bottom of my heart to the tips of my toes
the way he did

But since when
did fear ever stop me?
So why should I let it
stop me now?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

the moon and true forgiveness

Between the month milestones
I don't think about the time
But when it gets close to the 22nd of a month, I look around
in panic searching out a calendar
I can't miss it!  How could I handle missing it??

And so far I haven't.
Four months, today

At dinner tonight, I lit our candles
over our fish sticks and sweet potato tater tots
we said our UU grace
and at the end I talked about how Daddy will always be in our hearts

Today, at church, a Buddhist quote hit me deeply
something about how we spend too much time
looking at the hand pointing at the moon
thinking that the hand actually is the moon

The hand pointing at the moon is not the moon

The writings of men and women
about religion
are not the religion
The idea is that WE ALL
have the ability to experience the love
these leaders carried with them
Jesus, Muhammad, Gandhi, Buddha...
the message is not the man.  The message is not the tale teller
The message is Itself.  Perhaps that is how I can believe in god
as the Message

And in my heart, something opened
for when forgiveness is large enough
there is no hatred no all consuming sorrow
there is only here and now
knowing we all mess up
knowing nothing is perfect
nothing is finished
everything ends
Sensual sweetness and jagged edge
sharp spots are everywhere
and it is ok.

It is okay if you get cut in your travels.  We all do.
Sometimes we are even the ones
doing the damage.
forgive yourself
forgive the other
We close our hands around the sharp parts
to keep others safe
Or we toss it and look the other way
and someone else gets hurt
some use the hard parts against others
in a misguided attempt at
protecting themselves.

Nothing is perfect
Everything ends
The finger pointing at the moon is not the moon

When I do miss one of the 22nd days of a month
it will be okay

I will just try to look for the moon, with my hands at my sides.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

puzzle pieces

Sigh.  There is so much strange beauty inside this suffering that engulfs my family.  Do not misunderstand me.  I am making unhealthy stupid choices.  Trust me.  I am.  But everyone does that, in one way or another.  And I am choosing to think, in part because that is who I am.  But we also have this damn boulder we have to carry and it is up to us how to decorate it.  I mean, Neil told me he dreamed today after his nap.  He came up all excited about it!  So of course I asked if he dreamed about daddy...and that just sent him off on this soliloquy about bears and monsters and daddy helping him!  so damn cute...disconnected....but cute.

And then it occurred to me in real time:  I need to talk about John.  It took a little while before I could look at the photos I have around the house.  Then I could look at them, but thinking about John was just too much, at least to any significant degree.  Tonight, while I was changing Neil and getting his evening movie on (I wish I read more books, but don't judge me...I do what I can), I really looked at the photos of John...I looked in his eyes.  I studied his smile.  I was ok.  In fact, I felt blessed to have him to look at, to look over me.  No matter what you believe, you must acknowledge that he is not totally gone.  I am not the same person I was before I met him and I never will be.  That is his presence.  Each of our three babies have his blood flowing through them- that is his presence.  And John was extra blessed because he influenced so many out there.

I know I will be okay.  I do NOT know how.  Right now, I am holding onto some people and things that are not likely the types of things that would be judged as healthy, necessarily.  But we can't really judge each other.  I want to acknowledge that many, if not all, of these things are crutches.  And I want to find a way to leave those who love me right now better than they were before, no matter how long they are with me after.  I think that is a huge challenge.  But I will try.

Another thing I will try:  to be a little selfish.  In careful ways.  I don't feel like defining that.  I think it is beyond defining.  I will say, however, that my kids in most ways will come first.  As long as I can handle what is coming.

In odd ways, I see the multifaceted pieces that make me up.  so many beautiful puzzle pieces.  But I also sort of feel like I am water logged, worn, dog eared, dog chewed, and missing a few minor pieces.  There is still clearly a picture there, if someone (me?) can finish the puzzle.  But I see it there...perhaps not exactly like the top of the box. But I see. 

Friday, September 20, 2013


smiley smiley smiling.  make a list of good things, of gratitude or joy or whatever:

I am grateful for:
facebook friends
for Louis C.K.
for lovely evenings and soft breezes and crickets
for Malbec wine
for Joss Wheedon
for chocolate chip pumpkin bread and people to share it with
for hot tubs and small swimming pools
for old students who visit me with hugs
for my plastic chair that doesn't rip when I sit in it (because my swing was ripping, grrrr)
for the look on Aiden's face when I got my daily kiss the other day
for soft evening breezes (I know I just said that, but another one just caressed me)
for new shampoo
for yummy smelling candles
for good books
for my friend Matt's posts on his World of Steam
for feeling sexy sometimes even when I am alone
for friends who watch my kids for free to let me go do things
for my super smart Reverand
for my church full of eclectic intelligent weird cool people
for good music
for friends who bring me cool music
for books that are hard to read
for people liking my posts and my blog entries
for grass under barefeet
for my kids riding my bikes while I walk the dogs (they keep up sooo much better that way)
for John's friends who like my posts and stay in touch, if only on facebook
for old boyfriends who still seem to care if I am ok
for unusual new friends
for chalice group
for choir
for the Gleaton's!
for my red head friends!
for the fact that gay rights are coming around enough so that we can hopefully talk about boys loving boys and girls loving girls even in a second grade classroom some day soon
for George Takei's posts
for Star Wars
for all the awesome books my brother has given me
for scary smart friends
for ice cream
for the crazy sweet snuggles my Cilly gives
for the kisses I get from Neil
for everyone who has let me try to help them
for everyone who tries to help me see that I am not alone
for memories of crazy adventures in sky diving and SCUBA diving
for my students

what is really cool and I am really thankful for, is that right now this list could go on and on....

thoughts...big and small

not thinking of big things today.  Just feeling the sore that comes from not sleeping so well for many nights in a row and working my ass off.  I put pumpkin chocolate chip bread in the oven a little while ago and as I swirled the gooey mess into the flour and cinnamon I found my mind doing odd circles around the history of baking.  As in, who the hell ever thought of cracking unborn chicken babies into gloppy stuff like this, mixing it with some dusty shit, heating it up and hoping it would come out yummy?  That person was either one of the most INCREDIBLE geniuses in history, or one hell of a nutcase.  My best guess is they were somewhere in between. 

Today is Frederick Fair day and there is no school.  We are planning on going to our friend's house and hanging out in her heated pool.  I figure that this is a good treat to hold over the heads of the kids to get them to clean their room.  I cleaned it for them about a month ago.  In less than an hour, it it was a mess again.  I stopped cleaning it.  Right now, I told them they are in their room until it's clean and, at the suggestion of a lady at school, they are "thinking of their room like a clock".  They will work in one corner until it is clean, then move to the next, until it is done.  They haven't been in there for 2 minutes and they are screaming and crying already.  This should be interesting.  I am not going in there.  I will, however, try to report back how it goes....oh, man, the decibel level just went up.  My daughter is screaming and pounding on the door, begging to get out while my son is telling her she can't.  Apparently he didn't realize that pee breaks were allowed.  Literal to the end, my son.

It is seemingly impossible for me to separate out the different parts of grief for me.  The practical issues, like getting the house clean and everyone fed, mix with the emptiness of my bed, my hand, my heart.  I look at my hands, my skin.  I see some of my father and brother in them.  I see scars and lines, small patches of pink and peeling skin from the psoriasis.  I think my life is like my hands.  Strong and soft and capable of many things.  Clumsy in places, torn, starting to wrinkle, battered and scarred.

On the Widows Voice blog today, a woman wrote about how jealous she is of people who had decades.  I feel that.  John and I were together, more or less, for 12 years. But we were married for only 8.  Exactly 3 weeks before he died.   I can't really let myself think of him too much, too deeply.  I don't know.  At my support group, there are several women who talk about how their husbands totally spoiled them, pampered them, cherished them.  I think I feel kind of sad because John wasn't so good at that.  I have written it before, but he was so focused on his coaching, so engrossed in what he did, that I always felt jealous, like I took a back seat.  And it tore him up.  He did the aftermath well, by which I mean he always regretted not showing me enough, not using the right words, not getting the idea of how to do a gift...Last Christmas was the worst.  I don't hold the hurt, though.  I figure it was right before the tumor started causing serious issues, so his forgetfulness was likely due to that.  But we did a wish list for all of us, all together, on amazon, right after Thanksgiving.  All 5 of us, even Neil, sat on the couch together.  I showed John, again, how to get to the amazon wishlist for me.  We set up his.  We went through and picked things together.  One of the things I wanted was a pair of Chucks, something bright and fun and low top.  That is the only thing he got me- although he got high tops and I can't wear them because they rub on my heels where the skin tears and rips with the psoriasis.  And he lost them so that they didn't show up till much later.  And on Christmas Eve, I had to stay up and wrap everything myself because he was sick.  And on Christmas morning, the only gifts I had to open were the two from these sweet sweet people at church who gave us each a little something.  And I couldn't even be upset-I couldn't share my hurt or sadness, because John was so incredibly sorry and angry that he had messed up.  He kept trying to give me his stuff.  I didn't like that at all.  I told him that especially since I didn't get presents, the only gift I was getting was watching him and the kids enjoy the stuff they got.  I was not about to let him ruin that for me. 

I am afraid of my 40th birthday without him.  I am afraid of Thanksgiving and Christmas and even New Year's Eve.  And I get to go back to hating Valentine's Day.  Easter I think will be mostly okay, because our tradition is to be outside.  We would go for a hike and I think that will be a nice way to sort of connect with John...

Which reminds me...a lady at group last night said that she and her family have started doing something her husband had asked for.  They got these two little wooden acorns that hold a small amount of ashes.  They go on their travels and adventures, places the family had gone when her husband was alive.  And the sprinkle a bit of his ashes out of the nut.  They take a photo of the place and the nut and plan on making an album to see all the places he was, in life and now in small pieces forever.  I think John would have loved that.  I immediately thought of trying to get some of his ashes to Japan.  But I couldn't give them to Dave because he has nothing to do with us anymore.  Plus, the point is to go with the family, if possible. 

That's another thing I think about.  A different woman at group talked about how there is a member of her husband's family who crossed a line of intimacy with her and she had to cut him off.  I don't want to say much about it, because it is her story.  But it made me so mad at Dave.  I asked to be held, and to lay beside him.  Even with Cilly there, so that he understood that I wasn't asking for anything but closeness.  And when it was apparent that he couldn't even do that, I hoped that we could just actually talk about stupid stuff.  Create a real connection.  And I never ever would have really hit on him.  EVER.  But just the asking and talking crossed his line.  I have to respect that.  But it seems so cold an stupid.  I guess it doesn't matter.  Because if that is how things are in his head, he wouldn't have been much comfort to me anyway.  Someone that afraid of anything honest and tender and helpful makes me sort of sad. 

I guess, all in all, I am doing mostly okay.  I worry about some of the people and ways I am reaching for comfort.  But they are working right now.  And I am only being honest.  And I am trying to keep telling myself that some of these thing that are helping so much right now are only temporary.  Temporary.  And there is no temporary that will hurt more than the temporary presence John had in my life.  So whenever those things go, whenever I choose to stop them, I can handle it.  Even if it hurts.  Because how could it ever compare to losing him?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

imaginative exhaustion

I am filling his sink with everything I don't know what to do with.  Because it makes it not like a sink; not as much of a reminder that it is dry.  Unused.  I don't like the parallel I draw between that statement and myself.

So I won't draw that line.  Instead, perhaps I will play with circles.  Like how things from the past circle back around.  How old tapes play in our heads and we need to find ways to change the track.

Smiling is something I typically tend to do easily.  I remember my first year of teaching.  One of the janitors made a comment about how I wouldn't be smiling so much by the end of the year, apparently thinking I was some immature, empty headed blonde with no experience... I remember how I realized, again, that what I am on the outside at a glance, does not tend to match what I am made of at my core.  It is misleading.  I sing, I laugh, I dance or walk in strange ways down the hall.  It has little, if anything, to do with my level of happiness.  It's just what helps me get through the day. 

I told a couple people who didn't know about my loss yesterday.  One had no words.  Literally.  Didn't know what to say and so said nothing, just kept eating.  The other just repeated a few times how they were sorry for my loss.  I have a tendency to say "Me too" when people say that to me.  I wonder what they think of that.

Listening to Tori Amos...the line "set fire to your plain" is one that wakens things inside me.  I was talking with a friend tonight and two small, moderately interesting things intersected for me that never really did before.  It occurred to me that I am both a free spirit and a complete romantic.  Those things do not fit comfortably in the same puzzle.  I think the juxtaposition of those conductors have caused me a lot of heart ache over the years.   Yet, there they are.  Still. That and determination, dedication, stubbornness...

Another good thing:  I found out that a friend had John's memorial service recorded!  Oh, the joy I felt, small, but bright, when he told me that!  So many people shared such amazing sweet stories...I wonder how long it will be before I can listen to it, once he gets it for me....

I wish I could write a poem tonight.  But I am tired in a way that tightens my back and make the space behind my temples tight.

I will try to sleep.  I will try to know that I am not really alone.  I will try to invite my guardians to come and be with me tonight, bears and foxes and monkeys, each a symbol for someone and something, each an image from one dream or another, from books, or the Chinese zodiac...perhaps I can imagine a moonlit lake, clusters of lotus flowers blooming

In my dream I could be something other, someone different...perhaps I could be a mystical, magical someone, beyond feeling pain and loss, full of wonder and love and energy that glowed....and as I enter the water, each pore could soak in the strength of the universe, connecting to everyone and everything that ever was, and the ripples from my body entering would reverberate...because none of us are truly alone...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

like sewing wind through solar flares

I feel like I am splintering...fracturing.  I am tearing apart from the inside.

And I am pulled and I push in every direction I can.
I try to find something to grab.  And there is nothing.  No one.

There are many.  I see you and hear you all.

but I am still falling.

And I have to find a way to fall without letting anyone see.  Without letting anyone know how deep I am going, how scared I really am, how loud I send my screams out to no one's ears.

I don't really believe in god, but god help me!  if I am not broken, I am breaking myself.  I feel like a star, shooting out bursts of light and liquid metal...

and at the same time I am nothing

I scream into a void

That void was his heart

And I see his eyes in our youngest child.

And I will always make poor choices.  I am a warrior.  I am a child.  I am strong.  I am broken.  I am brave.  I fear I will always be afraid.

The candles burn.  my tears burn.  I crave light and rest and soft breezes.  I have nothing but hard, ragged, rough edged reality.

Just because I am broken, does not mean others should break too.  And somehow, sometimes, I just don't care.  I want you to hold me, broken and naked and crying on the floor, lost and small and afraid.

My soul shivers

So many tears it blinds and binds and spills and tears.  The tears tear me apart.  But in tearing there should open a door for sewing

Sew seeds for new beginnings...mending cloth with thread and needle....

Needing connection

Connecting with something small.  But no matter the number of tears,
the spools of thread and reams of cloth
This will ever be broken

Strength isn't always in correction
sometimes it is moving forward broken, ragged, and whipping in the breeze.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

hate and love and fear

I want so much.  Mostly right now, I want to know WHO I AM.  I would love to belong to someone.  Everyone on the outside, well, most people on the outside, say I have my kids and lovely friends in the community...I do.  But that isn't what I mean.  I feel like I could say it over and over is a moderately interesting dilemma.  Is it more important to be good, or to be loved?  Both mean so much to me...I believe they are both all there is. 

And no one knows what I mean.  What I am talking about.  Because I don't even know...not really.  "you are my favorite person".  When you have that, and it is gone, it feels like nothing.  A nothing bigger than every fear and rejection you have ever imagined.  But I reached for someone from my past.  And he wanted me.  and it helped ease the pain of not being someone's favorite.  It even made me smile.  but if I kept that up, it would mean that I was not being true to anything that matters to me.  He made me feel beautiful and smart and fun and sexy.  I need to carry that forward.  Into oblivion...nothingness.  and I guess I can do that but i also have no idea why I want to.  Not carry it, but enter oblivion...I have no choice...that is what is ahead of me, I guess...

I don't know who I am. I am bound my desire to be loved.  I am torn by it.  I am wrecked in it and it drowns me.  John's love made so much pain go away.  I still had doubts.  But he was always there to reassure me, to treasure me.  And now all I have is other people needing me.  I have words on screens.  And I don't want to say this, but damn it, I hate my life.  I don't hate it all.  I love many many little pieces.  I know somewhere in me is the strength to get through this.  And I know that I don't get to say when or how that happens.  I feel like I have had to do a lot of it alone.  And I wish I knew better how to ask for help, to reach for it, and to ask again when it doesn't show up. 

And I wonder how it is wrong when without it all I feel is buried in pain.  But I can't cover my pain with the chance of causing pain to another.  I am not actually more important than someone else.  I wish I were, but I'm not. 

spiritual autobiography

This is my homework for the other of my activities:  Build Your Own Theology class at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Frederick.  I figured I might as well put it here since this blog is my journey and my attempt to make sense of my life during and after John's cancer....

The moments with meaning in my life are spread mostly across New England;  from Dover, Delaware to West Hartford CT, Orono ME, Newburg MD, Frederick MD.  But it also dances across continents, to moments in various countries in Europe, to the east coast of Australia, and to the Galapagos Islands.

My parents divorced when I was six years old, leaving my mother and grandmother (Nanna) to raise me and my brother.  The primary issue here was that my grandmother was a survivor of many things.  The way she got through them was to harden herself and her heart.  So she was strong through stiffness and solitude and independence and distance.  When I was around 15 or 16 years old, I remember walking around my block, crying because of another fight we had had.  People used to tell me that I reminded them of her.  I absolutely HATED that idea.  Until I realized that if I tried really hard, I could perhaps embrace the stubborn strength we both seemed to have, but I would fight to get through whatever life threw at me WITHOUT becoming walled off and hardened and stoic like her.  So since that tender age, I have willed myself to feel everything, to keep the walls I wear as soft as possible, to allow for flow, hope, love. 

I moved out of my mother's house when I was not mature enough or responsible enough to manage on my own, in the hopes that not being bound to her would save our relationship for the future.  Her alcoholism, by the time I was in college, had become an overwhelming embarrassment.  She would call the dorm pay phone to find me, and when I didn't answer, she would drunkenly moan and cry and lament to whomever answered the phone, asking what she had done wrong with me, cursing me, and generally making no sense.  So I confronted her about her drinking.  She would have nothing to do with an open discussion.  So I moved out.  For a year, I lived in New Haven CT, waiting tables at Atticus Cafe and Bookstore, taking classes at Southern Connecticut State University, and making many poor choices about how to deal with my life.  When it became apparent that this city and my life there were not going to give me the correct environment to thrive, I packed my cat and her new kittens, my three rooms of stuff, and my fear, excitement, and hope into my crappy little Ford Escort and moved to Orono Maine.

For the four summers spanning my time there, I canvassed for Maine People's Alliance, the largest Nonprofit Citizens Action group in the state.  I knocked on doors from Portland, to Fort Kent, Frenchville, and Presque Isle.  I learned to deeply discuss my beliefs, I learned that you rarely change anyone's mind, I learned how to set up a tent, I got to meet incredible people (both in good ways and bad), I got to dance in more rain that I would have thought was good for me (and it turned out to be great), I learned to be HONEST was better than being seen as right.  I learned to believe in my intelligence and integrity and determination.  I learned a lot about connection.  During that time, I lost my best friend to selfish, disbelieving abandonment.  I made friends with a woman who was ritualistically abused and who carried in her perhaps dozens, perhaps closer to hundreds, of split personalities.  I volunteered at the battered women's shelter that gave her a home.  I worked in a nursery school as an aide for kids with autism, seizure disorders, mental retardation, and ADHD.  I learned to deeply believe that there are no bad kids and that choices do not end things, because you always have chances to make new ones.  There are bad choices.  We all make them from time to time.  They do not have to define us.  We do that ourselves.

When I graduated from the University of Maine with my Bachelor's Degree in Creative Writing, I applied to the Peace Corps.  I was honest with them about a suicide attempt from my first year of college.  I knew even back in 1992 when it happened, that I was more hoping someone would take me seriously and get me help than I was hoping I would die.  But I was pretty okay with either outcome because I was tired of reaching out and searching for help and finding not enough.  I told them the truth on the application because I had come so far.  I had lived alone and thrived in a cabin in the woods of Maine, graduated with a 4.0, proved myself to be an accomplished activist, a talented poet, a caring teacher...I figured I knew my buttons, I knew ways to care for myself now in extreme situations.  They rejected me just the same.  So I moved to Richmond for a year and learned to love my father.

There, I was trained to work with children in the extremes.  By this I mean kids who were violent, sold drugs or guns, and had been kicked out of public schools.  By far, this population touched my heart.  I wanted to save them, to love them, to be strong beside them, to teach them that no matter what others said or society showed them, that they could do anything.  This was the hardest job I ever had.  I had to chase a child who ran on a daily basis, use the passive restraint method we were trained in multiple times a day.  I spent a night being attacked with a broom, verbally assaulted, and still got the rest of the kids fed and to bed.  And I decided that teaching was the right place for me.  So I left to get my Master's Degree.

The joy of having my own class, my very first group of fifth graders to listen to, to encourage, to help shape.  That joy was huge and pure and strong.  My travels through Europe were under my belt- I had visited many places for very little time on a whirlwind tour.  Not exactly the back packing through the continent I might have preferred, but it was more than I had ever dreamed I would be able to do.  And that joy, the joy of traveling and seeing things from other places, of seeing ancient pieces of our world, that was a nugget of strength and connection that seeded many things for me.  And deciding to travel to Australia, even though I didn't actually have the money- I realized life is about change and growth and experience more than anything else.  I was still fighting to remain soft enough to enable pass through, to accept love.  I was learning to be like the buildings and bridges that sway in the wind:  strong and flexible, somewhat fluid yet sturdy, solid..  I knew (and know) my story is hard, but there are other stories that are harder.  Yet, at the same time, I also know there isn't one story that actually is "harder" than someone else's, but each of us fight the battle from where we are.  We are each facing the hardest thing we have ever gone through at any given moment.  You can't compare "hard" because each story is so different.

Sadness has defined me as well.  Sadness from verbal abuse, from date rape, from rape, from losing several friendships I thought would be there forever.  Sadness that comes from watching your mother kill herself slowly, from knowing your grandmother raised you, but left you knowing virtually nothing at all about her or her life.  I know the sadness of unrequited love- three years as a good friend to the man I would have given and done anything for.  I know the sadness that comes from losing the future you thought was yours.  When I lost John, something in me broke.  And I still lean on the pattern of refusing to become hardened.  I want to embraced the pain, to enable me to learn from it.  I don't know how or when that will happen, so I will try to say "abracadabra" a few times a week, and look around closely to see if anything happened.

From my few high school years of friendship with my brother, I know that self reflection and playful spontaneity are a part of my core.  From my friend Scott, I learned that I am far smarter than I ever believed and that I can love more deeply than I ever knew, even if it is not returned to me.  From my Nanna, I know I am strong, and I know I don't have to let my strength make me hard.  And from John, I know that I can be loved.

I believe that life is an adventure filled with a myriad of moments to reach others, to inspire them, to allow yourself to be inspired by them, if you listen well.  And that these connections, the compassion they create, the humor they inspire, are the most important things that exist.  Life is change, and embracing it is your best choice.  Allow yourself to grow, to open to the chance to connect to others, allow compassion to flow through everything you are and everything you hope for.  Strength does not always look like you thought it would.  In fact, sometimes you can be strong and not even realize it.  And if you allow yourself to love, and to be loved, for real, there is nothing you can't do, nothing you cannot be. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013


after skydiving
Forgiveness is the topic of our assignment.   The prompt says "We all make mistakes in our relationships, it's human nature.  Somehow, they all seem larger when the other person dies.  List below the things you need to forgive yourself for as well as your spouse"

I don't know.  The only thing I can think of is that I need to forgive myself my need to move forward.  To move on from the place where I was his.  It is a confusing feeling because I know that if I was given the choice, even if I found someone "better" than him, whatever that means, I would still want him.  He was best, for me.  He understood my crazy and wanted to learn the patience necessary to manage it.  He always did and he always got better.  If I really had to say, maybe I forgive myself for not embracing diving and trampoline more.  It was his everything.  Perhaps, more likely, what I need to forgive us both for, was not being able to bridge that very gap.  By which I mean I always felt that he loved his sports more than me.  And he never understood why I felt that way, or how to help me understand the depth of his feeling for me.

I think I am incredibly lucky for this...I wonder if that is a gift that a death like cancer brings.  It carries with it the knowledge of the end, and often the time to deal with lasting old issues.  There are two sides to every coin.  Watching him dwindle...he didn't really suffer in the classic sense...GBM's don't do that.  He got more and more tired, to the point where all he could manage was a thumbs up.  But watching him dwindle was heart breaking...he was so alive and strong and stubborn, so active and playful and always in motion.  So to see what it did to him at the end...I had to help him stand, help him the one foot to the bedside commode, help him care for himself...I would have had it no different at that point, except it was so hard...I was so afraid I would drop him.  He fell when he tried to do it alone and had to sit all twisted till I got back with the dogs.  So there was suffering like that.  But we were able to have that moment when Neil, two years old, sat beside him on the bed at hospice and sang a silly sweet little two year old song about how he loved his dad.  We were able to have the night before he died, when I curled up beside him crying and promising him that while this wasn't easy and I didn't want him to leave, I would be okay and I would be an amazing mom for our babies and that it sucked beyond belief, but it was ok.  It was ok.

Oh I wish there was a manual to MY grief.  I am feeling that I need strange and messed up things to help me get through.  And I read things that help me understand that what I need is not so strange, not so unique, not so messed up.  But it still kinda feels that way.  I was supposed to have John forever.  There have been so many people in my life I thought would be there in deep ways forever.  My brother, Molly, Jess, my mother....and where are they now?  Some are dead, some are not what I expected, some are distant shadows of what I wished for.

When everything is said and done, you are and always will be the only best friend that you have who will last through the end.  And the only gift you are given that you get to keep forever no matter what, is your own body.  Love yourself.  That is the best gift.  The only one that matters.  That should include joy, spontaneity, care, planning, more health food than junk food but a healthy serving of both, good movies, sun, wind, actual rain on your skin, tears, hugs, more kisses than you can count, pancakes, bare feet on grass, stars, pets and pet messes....It should include confusion and love and hurt and growth....

I need to forgive him for leaving but it isn't his fault.  I am angry that I have to do everything alone.  But that isn't his fault.  He would have done ANYTHING to stay and help.  He wanted little beyond the chance to coach an Olympian and to be there for me and the kids...I just want love.  And fun.  And real things, even the messy ones, the ones that hurt.  And I have that.  Perhaps not in the balance I wish for, but I have that. 

Rambling and restarting, every day...

When I woke up today, I was lost.  Not happy or sad, not much at all...I look around the room and see clothes everywhere and realize I don't know what is clean and what is dirty.  At least I got an idea at support group about how to fix the drawer in Cilly's room.  And I didn't feel like making pancakes but we had enough bread and eggs for french toast.  But I can't find the part of me that moves through the mess and makes things happen right now.  I think someone unplugged her.  All I want to do is sit and look.

But I still keep peeking to see if he is watching me.  To see if I am seen.  But it seems that anyone who might have occasion to look in my direction doesn't really belong to me.  I don't belong to them. I don't mean ownership.  I mean residence.  The beautiful proposal in Home Depot I shared on facebook gave voice to a thought "I love you more than anything".  That is residence.  He is in your heart, like an owner who doesn't need a key.

I know it is probably best if I get up and move.  Motion, action, perhaps even wandering- these all instigate some version of transition.  Yet, this metamorphosis is more difficult than many, simply because I seem equally torn between forward motion change, and reaching back.  The backward pull is quieter, for sure, although it is no less strong.

I keep thinking about Momastery and about the Widow's Voice blogs that I enjoy.  So often what is shared are things that help us move forward.  I don't know if I am doing that.  But I also don't know if that is my purpose here.  I think my purpose, more than anything else, is to be seen.  To not allow myself to deny this journey.  It is a complicated dance, with spins and turns, dips and backward movement, lateral steps...and even though I am a good dancer, I still find I keep tripping.

And rambling.  And I probably don't always make sense.  And it seems I don't always care if I do.  Which might be new.  Or maybe it is just louder than it used to be, my not caring if I make sense or not.

So I am trying to turn my frustrations into my release.  Or perhaps it is more accurate to say that I am trying to overlook and embrace my perceived weaknesses at the same time, to absorb them, acknowledge them and find strength in that...I keep thinking about loving myself as I am...and the scene in Pulp Fiction where Bruce Willis' character and his girlfriend talk about how she wishes she had a pot belly...

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Pulp Fiction (1994)

Fabienne: I was looking at myself in the mirror.
Butch: Uh-huh?
Fabienne: I wish I had a pot.
Butch: You were lookin' in the mirror and you wish you had some pot?
Fabienne: A pot. A pot belly. Pot bellies are sexy.
Butch: Well you should be happy, 'cause you do.
Fabienne: Shut up, Fatso! I don't have a pot! I have a bit of a tummy, like Madonna when she did "Lucky Star," it's not the same thing.
Butch: I didn't realize there was a difference between a tummy and a pot belly.
Fabienne: The difference is huge.
Butch: You want me to have a pot?
Fabienne: No. Pot bellies make a man look either oafish, or like a gorilla. But on a woman, a pot belly is very sexy. The rest of you is normal. Normal face, normal legs, normal hips, normal ass, but with a big, perfectly round pot belly. If I had one, I'd wear a tee-shirt two sizes too small to accentuate it.
Butch: You think guys would find that attractive?
Fabienne: I don't give a damn what men find attractive. It's unfortunate what we find pleasing to the touch and pleasing to the eye is seldom the same. 

I wonder, yet again, why I am so obsessed with myself like this.  And I remember that I don't really want to be alone, and that reaching someone else requires, usually, that you have some level of confidence about who you are and how you are.  I have loads of confidence when it comes to my heart, my laugh, my desire to be positive, to learn and grow and do things...but my confidence about looks, like so many women in our culture, has never been strong.    But my belly originated with my babies.  It has remained because of stress.  And likely, a bit, because of wine and age as well.  So, with my grief as well as with my weight, I need to remember to find ways to keep moving.  I need to dance, in my heart and with my legs.  I need to find hills and mountains to embrace, to try to climb... which kind of sucks, because I so often find that all I want to do is curl up and hide.  

So, my best option right now?  Not sure, but it seems that just getting up, getting out, and doing SOMETHING is a good place to start....

Monday, September 9, 2013

Journey with no guide

Folding in on myself like a house of cards
Crumbling in tears and grief
And lack of belief
That I can be anything great without
I can be strong and good and fun and many things
But he helped me reach
Even more,
He inspired me to change
Almost everything I did
Almost everything I was
At least on the outside…he gave me strength
To be the best parts of me
And to explore places never touched

But he is gone.  And I never had the chance
To build supports for that path
He held it up
And I don’t know where to go
From here…