Tuesday, September 30, 2014

realizations after 16 months

I have recently come to realize that my internal barometer for making healthy, safe, smart choices may have been significantly damaged after John's death. I am 40 years old. I'd be a liar if I said i have lived a sheltered life. Some of my issues were born of things beyond my control,  but I will be damned if I will relinquish all of the power that comes with owning my multitude of asinine choices. Seriously. I did some ragingly unsafe, stupid, selfish things in my day. You are going to have to trust me on this. I won't elaborate now.  Because my point in reliving and rehashing my idiocy is to remember that if you laid it all end to end, there is no way the path should have led me here: relatively stable, mostly healthy, elementary school teacher, mother of 3, and regular church goer. But it did.

I somehow found the mental and emotional fortitude to live the OPPOSITE of the moderately  Machiavellian ethical teachings I grew up with, to not hide from my mistakes no matter how ugly, ratty, or familiar they were...because when you hide, all growth stops.

To be honest, a significant portion of this last year of blind misjudgment has likely been an active choice on my part, on some level. With John gone, no matter how much I love my kids, myself, life, my job...nothing was real and nothing truly mattered. I was living in a flattened out world, with thinly sliced wood fiber able to burn and blow away as the foundation and partner in crime for every choice. Once again, it seems there is an energy around me that I am able to touch or tap into. Because I made it through still wanting to love and learn and fight and grow.

But I guess I finally realized that as lonely as I am, I am not ready for someone new. Not because I'm not open to love. Not because I'm afraid I will be trying to replace John. But because the crushing pain of losing your chosen family, your life partner, leaves you a paper doll wandering in a cutout world. A razor thin slice of working brain. Able to be leveled by the slightest need. Confused and unclear, vulnerable and clueless, desperate to be filled out, fleshed in, touched by the Blue Fairy's wand, a wish repeated: I want to be real...make me a real woman. My heart would beg this, of anyone close enough to hear. I wanted to be seen, because I was invisible. He was not there to see me. Could I even BE seen without him?

So no, I am not ready. But not for the reasons you might think. I am not ready because losing him was like an internal explosion of epic proportions. My soul shattered. My heart liquefied. A disaster that huge causes a rapid changs to the surface of anywhere it touches. There is no quick rebuild. There's no switch to flip. Redefining who I am, what I believe, how I feel, what to dream about, hope and wish for, how to find my stride and rhythm in a dance excluding him...each of these will take time. There is no way to know how much. It has already been a year and 4 months and I am only just now beginning to accept that I must keep breathing without him beside me.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Sometimes it is the little things that are huge

Tonight, I am experiencing a strange phenomenon.  I see that I am 40 years old.  That is neither old nor young, in the scheme of things.  Yet I know that I have fought a battle since I was about 18 years old.  Literally.  I moved out of my mother's house at that age.  My grandmother laughed at me, saying I'd be back my Thanksgiving.  I wasn't.  I knew I wasn't ready to be on my own, but I also knew I wasn't willing to stay where I was.  So I broke ties and got an apartment.  I remember thinking how damn expensive milk was!  So I stopped putting it in my coffee, and for years drank it black with sugar.  I made some very responsible choices at that point in my life, but not very many.  Really, I'm lucky I survived.  Mostly, I was a totally irresponsible little ass.  I even contemplated putting myself in an institution.  However, I had a roommate who actually institutionalized herself, and as far as I could tell, she was way more screwed up than I was.  So I figured I'd try my back up plan.

That worked out well, and I made a lot more responsible choices, but I still am surprised I survived.  My idiocy exceeded my common sense and good choices by a significant number still.

My point here, is to note that TRULY learning to take care of myself, without pulling any punches, took YEARS.  It took good influences, a crap load of mistakes, smart choices, chances, adventures, pain, more pain, confusion, being an asshat, dealing with asshats, longing for asshats, battles and reading and tears and, did I mention, a boat load of idiocy?

And then I decided that I really had been an idiot.  And I tried to lay off the dumb things I was doing and try and figure out a better recourse...perhaps even try to PLAN something.  And then I met John.  And he invaded my life in ways I never dreamed possible.  Such a perfect combination of gentility and passion was what we had, that I didn't even know what was occurring.  I remember my roommate at the time worrying that she was going to lose me to "the M word"...I was so befuddled, I actually stood in her doorway, trying to figure out this word puzzle...and came out with "I M-ove him?" (pronounce love with an "m")  She was talking "marriage" and I was just hoping it was some version of love, not even dreaming there was a future with me married!

And so it was.  And making healthy choices, if not always believing in myself, was so much easier than I ever dreamed!  I had stopped smoking, stopped drinking, started bouncing trampoline, exercising more, and was reveling in the whole "not being alone" thing to a level deeper than I ever dreamed.  The drinking and smoking wasn't even a thing...he didn't ask me to stop.  I just didn't WANT to anymore.  I wanted to play!  His way...even though I couldn't keep up.

And.  Now here I am.  I admit to falling back into old habits that are hurtful.  But what I realized tonight is that it isn't about individual choices.  It is that he helped to take care of me.  I was on a journey, decades long, trying to figure out how to take care of myself.  And I was blessed to find a man who helped close gaps that would have taken years to fill and solidify and decorate on my own.  And now that he is gone, the flooring burnt with him.  So I have these odd and random holes in my foundation.  And I have to do the work I started years ago.

Yes, it is likely true that if he had never died, I would have still had to do this work.  But he supported that.  We were working on it.  It just was never urgent when he was with me...because if I found I couldn't get over a pothole, he'd hold my hand.  He would back flip over the sucker, take me on his back, and find a way across.  He's set himself on fire to burn a hole to the place I needed to get through.  Messy and sooty and sometimes painful, but effective.  My damn Green Lantern...no powers of his own but chosen, simply because inside, he was a good guy and willing to try.

And now, I have to do this all on my own.  I didn't realize how much work I have still to do, just on me...the foundation of who I am, who I want to be, how to do what I want and have to do...

I'm 40, and I have to learn lessons I started at 28.  Shoot, lessons I started at 18...who am I kidding?  Good lord, all I have to say is that I am so glad I had him!  I forgot how hard it was to be me without him.  Sigh.  I may not know a path, or have answers, or a plan...but I least I know I am so much stronger now.

At least there is that.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

blurred perspective: loneliness or beauty?

I  know.
I know some things.
I know I am incomplete
in motion.

I know I have felt the way the world works
when there is a home base
that does not waver
and arms
that will always hold you.

I know I have felt the way the world works
when there is
but long nights
lips laying on each other and not
locking language inside
instead of locking together

I know the quiet moments
of silent screams and tears that stream
volcanic liquid searing not one single mark
on faces that deserve rivulets

I don't know where I am
I am sure I don't know where
I am going
I'm not even sure where I have been

I know that there are moments that
have stuck to me
like glitter on your leg
that you never meant
to hold onto
and instead of letting
these oddly formed annoyances
made of magic meaningless sparkles
flake off one spot
to stick
to another
you flick at them and they
like lifting up lost but
tangible memories
from a life no longer yours, yet still stuck
to you, where you are now
with no visible connection
there, statically electric

so I leave the sparkle,
reach for a place where things matter
and connect
and still, the focus is off enough
to make me wonder

perhaps I have become
the lens of a camera
with the focus broken
and unbalanced

I'm sure there is still beauty
in those furry, fuzzy moments
but how can you decide any forward motion
when things are so balefully blurred?

you just might know what you
are seeing.  Unless
you don't

and either way

In which case
the path remains the same
as the choices are so few

and you walk
with a backpack full
of questions and fears
a woman alone across a river, empty hands
a sultry sunset scene surrounded by fertile lands
and untwined fingers
bare feet
skirt swaying in the breeze mysterious
and silent

I she searching?  Running?  ending or starting?

So much is about perspective...

Friday, September 5, 2014

what it all is: powerless

where are you?  where am I?
When I open my eyes
the skies
remain black
an incandescent crescent of
something missing
burns my broken retinas

something deep inside me
rumbles with what seems like
and emptiness no food
will calm

testing facial muscles
to see if they work
since my lips
remain dormant

too often saying "I don't know"
and meaning
all of it...so foreign
to every step in my dance

it's a tango
with no hand to hold me
as I dip deeply
landing on my head

a novel unwritten
save for the ending
while the author begs
for a plot to apply
more characters
some relevant action
to flesh out the all too often
empty moments

ethics without an application
theology without god
love stories without heroes
hands unheld and fingers untwined
pillows too fluffed beside me
and too many leftovers

it is the correct application
"it is what it is"
which just happens to be
a phrase
that makes my skin crawl.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

life swimming is so much harder than water

wow, anger is an interesting emotion.  isn't it?  I mean, I have carried a lot of it since John died, but I will tell you this:  when I was writing poetry as an undergrad, one of our assignments was to write about our greatest fear.  I wrote a poem about being alone in an empty room.  rocking myself.  full of fear.
That does not even begin to compare to the loneliness I feel here, a solo mom of three kids trying to do all this shit with no regular help or relief of ANY kind.  seriously.  Not.  one. person. here. regularly.  to help.  And when i see that, I sit down in the shower with my head in the corner and cry harder than the stream hitting my head...and ask questions there are no answers to...why the FUCK am I here?  why can't I be stronger?

I am so fucking scared of so many things and not a single fear matters.  I don't know how to do this.  I am scared that people will read this.  do not take teaching away from me.  it is hard and I love it and it helps me.  but in my personal life I am so far beyond anything I ever understood as broken all I want to do is scream.  fuck this shit.  three kids??  good lord I love them to piece and they are SOOOOOO damn hard!  How can i do them justice???

Momastery.com give me some love, some hope, some ideas.  I read your real shit.  I love it.  I get it.  I'm still alone.  So alone.  I want to carve out parts of me and leave them to die.  But I don't know how that works.  Yet I don't know how any of this works.  I mean, really.  How did John have brain cancer and stay so fucking positive??? I am so much less than him.  How the hell did he love such a weak and broken person?

I find stop gaps that help for moments.  My eyes twitch.  I get random, obsessive rashes.  I thought I was done drinking too much and I still pour glasses of wine down the drain, thinking "why the hell am I drinking this??"  I don't exercise.  I don't cook.  I don't read.  I don't have a baby sitter to have time off.  I am drowning in understandable but idiotic pain and fear.  I don't like drowning,  I really am a good swimmer, but I can NOT find my stroke here...

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

forward with mixed priorities

Drink it down
like dulcet timbres
for drowning taste buds
purple half moon eyes
with swollen moments
invading sockets
full of saline memories

swallow silently
each lament in a voice
too high to be your own
wishing for powers
beyond the Power
and ways to bring
moments lost
in sterile rooms
with half body gowns
wires and tubes and napkin-like dividers
beeps and far
too much silence
except for the
unsubdued, wrenchingly confused screaming
behind Curtain Number 1

the movie behind eye lids
like a life love vampire
sucking out sections
you never thought removable

till all that's left
are long nights lost
with love bits broken
and a soul so whole
you find yourself searching
for a hammer

how can you fit shards
inside solitude?  Fractures
inside function?

Outside your box
the "how" is irrelevant
you do what you do
you lace up your boots
and leave the house each morning
with your shirt unbuttoned
or your pants
on backwards
Just so long
as the boots
don't move
and you keep