Sunday, August 31, 2014

Let it Go (Admit it, you are singing it now)

A few weeks ago I let it all out.

Before I go further, I would like to thank all of you. For reading, for offering support or a laugh. Even those of you who were embarrassed for me. And even those of you who are still treating me with kid gloves (I get a little giggle from that). I’m fine. And I was then, too…just maybe not as.

But I did learn something. A couple of things, actually. Go figure.

I remember when I was finished typing and it was time to hit the ‘publish’ button. I sat there, hesitating for quite a few minutes, unsure all of a sudden. Those of you who write will understand when I say that writing all that had been building in my mind quite forcefully and I had to—had to—write it all out. Yet when push came to shove, at that last moment, I hesitated. Then I had to stop and think why. I looked back at what I bled onto the page again, and still felt that need to let it out. And still I hesitated to push that key. Why? And then I realized what was stopping me. I was so fucking pissed that I hit the publish button fast…and then a second time to make sure it took.

What would people think?

What??? Did I not just get through saying that I didn’t care what people thought of me? Ouch.

That was lesson 1.

Lesson 2 came a few days later. It’s kind of hard to explain the daze I felt like I was walking in. I was still…not entirely happy, and I was hyper-aware of everyone around me. I felt exposed (duh!), very conscious of what I let people see and, if I’m honest, I also felt a little embarrassed. Not happy about that. And I watched closely how people talked or reacted to me. I did feel ‘naked’—and not in a way I like, either (I normally like naked).

I was sitting out on my porch drinking my coffee…and yes, mentally replaying everything. I wasn’t sure what to do next. I wasn’t sure if I could just write another blog as casually as I did before. Everything I’ve written is personal in some way, but that was beyond personal for me. I crossed one of my own lines. Then it hit me.

That felt good.

No. It felt better than that. It felt…


I let go of my own control—of my own control. That’s two things right there. I grew up believing that emotions were bad and had to be hidden. Not the good emotions. I let those fly all over the place when I’m feeling them. If I’m happy to be with you, if I love you, if I’m having fun I say it and I show it. A lot. If I’m REALLY enjoying a piece of steak or my coffee or chocolate, everyone will know (I will even post a picture of it on FaceBook so that no one misses how much I’m enjoying it!).

But when I’m down, or scared, or unhappy, or ‘emotional’ (I’m going to make everyone as sick of that word as I am) I have to keep that hidden. Keep it under control. Put on a face. Everyone knows what putting on a face is like. Parents have to do it all the time in front of their kids. I’ve had to do it since I was a kid, because nothing less was allowed.

I’m not saying I hide totally everything. I vent. And I vent sarcasm. Humor, even biting humor, was allowed at home, and I got good at it. Maybe too good. I had a boyfriend who actually told me that my humor could sometimes hurt his feelings.

Right this moment, looking back, I have to give him props for admitting that and communicating that to me. I don’t imagine that was easy to tell me. We weren’t having a fight and it wasn’t brought up in anger. He just talked with me. Thank you, David.

Humor got me through many things—everything. My ex and I owned a bar. It was the best bar, and I loved it (I still miss it). But he was battling a drug and alcohol addiction. I was so naïve and ignorant that I did not see the signs in the beginning—maybe because he wasn’t battling it, so much as enjoying it then. I was eight months pregnant when I found out fully what was going on, when he pulled his first multiple-day bender. I knew nothing about cocaine, or the signs of use. I may not have liked how much he was drinking, but if he came home before the bars closed he wasn’t doing anything (or anyone) else, right? I learned fast. I had a lot on my plate all of a sudden, with a new baby and a business to run, pretty much alone. It became a game staying one step ahead of him and his friends trying to keep the drugs out of the bar—which meant even keeping him out. I even repainted every smooth surface in the bathroom with a mixture of sand and paint so they couldn’t “line anything up” in there (It became obvious that lines outside the bathroom door meant there were lines inside as well).  Let me state that addiction SUCKS for everyone involved. And recovery is even harder. “Friends” of his knew he was trying to stop and would show up and “shake his hand” in that gesture normally reserved when trying to bribe a maître d’ to get a good table at a restaurant, only they wouldn’t have money in their hands. But my ‘face’ was in place. And I ran that bar. And it was a fun place. Yes, people knew. It was a small neighborhood bar in a smaller neighborhood. We lived two floors over the bar. I would work during the day and we had our friends bartending on the nights I couldn’t work. At 2:00 am when the bar closed, whoever was tending bar would cover the windows and use the back stairs up to my apartment to stay there while my daughter was sleeping, so that I could go down to close up and do the paperwork. Karen, one of our friends and bartenders, would sometimes stay with me, just to hear me vent. I was entertainment for her. She loved when I went off on my tirades, every other word was ‘fuck’ and ‘fucking’ and she would just laugh and tell me how funny I was when I was angry.

But I wasn't just angry. I was sad, and isolated, and I felt so alone. And I was afraid. Afraid that we would lose the business that was my only means of support (I had to double my efforts to keep him and his friends out when I found out we were being watched—because of the activities of another of his ‘friends’), afraid that I would get a call saying he was dead…and then afraid for me, when in his worst moments he threatened to ‘take everyone out’ because if he was going down, we all were, too.

I even wrote one of those “If anything happens to me…” letters. He knows about it. Eight years of trying to get sober. In and out of meetings. In and out of rehab. Steps forward and steps back. And a smile on my face for most of it, even when I was behind the bar, humiliated, serving the many women he was having ‘sexual relations’ with—depending on your Clintonian definition of ‘sexual relations’. Eight years in survival mode, of putting on that ‘face’, dealing with that mockery, pity (from some), and even the bullshit chauvinism from his friends, who would pull him aside and say stupid shit like, “She knows too much about your business.” Kinda had to, right? He wasn’t running it.

Maria knew all of it. She was his friend first from childhood, and then mine when he and I got together. We had the biggest ‘custody’ battle over her when we split up. I miss you, Maria. In a few weeks you will have been gone a year… <3

My ex will be celebrating 17 years sobriety this coming month. I am proud of him, because I know how hard it was (for both of us) and there is no more anger. I have to say we get along quite well now.

But I’m talking about the control we feel we have to have, to be able to put on that face for others. One year ago (this week, in fact. Wow!), I had been out of work for eight months, borrowed from everyone around me to keep afloat and managed (THANK YOU to all of you) to be only one month behind in my rent (that was quite a feat)—and I woke up to a ‘For Rent’ sign on the lawn for MY apartment. It took every single ounce of control I had for my face that day—especially when my then 8-year-old asked me, “Who’s moving?”

I’m not the only one who has had to put on a face. We all do. Many of you have been through much worse than what I have. But a few weeks ago I didn’t put on that face. By choice. And I realized later that it made me feel free. Because—you all know this—keeping that tight control is exhausting. So letting go actually felt good (better than taking the bra off at the end of a long day—Ladies, you know what I’m talking about).  

The past couple of years have been exhausting for me. I’m not saying that for your benefit—I’m saying that to myself, to give myself permission to not be ok all the time. And while there may have been a little embarrassment, it wasn’t the same as an accidental embarrassment—like the time I had to reach way down and in the back for a gallon of milk at Shaw’s and found out when I got home that the entire back seam of my pants had let go. Those moments are worse because we have no control over them. I still had control, even though I didn’t feel it at the time. I made a choice to be that open, to let myself be seen without the plaster.

And the walls didn’t collapse. I still did my work and (most of) what I had to do. Even my ‘letting go’ was controlled somewhat. I stepped outside my comfort zone (again. Lol). And I’m still here. And I still have my job, my family, and my friends. I still have everything I need. And I’m still fine.

I guess sometimes we all need to let go, even if just to prove to ourselves that the world won’t fall off of its axis if we do.

Of course, this doesn't mean I'll be doing it all the time from now on, either. :)

I was serious about the bra thing. It was even better than that.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Why I love FaceBook

Back when we were kids in the dark ages, our worlds were smaller. Our lives were encapsulated by our location (our children now live in a ‘bigger’ world, thanks to the internet). If you wanted to learn something, or learn about something, you had to pray that the encyclopedias you had at home were up to date, or that your library carried new information. We have access to everything now. Everything. Yes, good and bad, but that really goes without saying. With any kind of progress there will be bad things to worry about. With anything there is good and bad. But I’m focusing on the good.

People complain that because of the internet and social media sites like FaceBook that we don’t communicate anymore. I don’t believe that is totally true. No, virtual communication will never, ever, be able to replace real face time, but it allows us to never fully be isolated and to keep in touch no matter what we have going on in our lives that may have otherwise kept us apart. It allows us to share; our thoughts and feelings, little trivial bits of our lives that make for good memories later. It allows us to support each other or to just make each other smile. What is better than that?

·         It provides affirmations.

The power of making anyone laugh, or even smile for a moment. I couldn’t believe it when I heard there had been a number of large studies on the effects of positive FaceBook posts and people’s moods. Apparently, reading positive posts makes people feel more positive.

--I’m sorry, but can I say, “DUH!”? I actually thought that was a given, and I couldn’t believe that money was spent on that. (Wish I’d thought of it!) Wasn't that already covered in all of the studies about advertising and ‘mental programming’ and brainwashing? Whatever is repeated is learned, yada, yada, yada…

Anyway, that is still good. We are bombarded with bad news regularly. Many of us have stopped watching televised news. Isn’t it nice to have a place to share a smile or laugh that often? Enough to ‘program’ ourselves to think more positively? Better than television.

·         It provides acknowledgment.

      Hi. Here’s a Hug. Thinking of you. Hope you are doing well. Miss you. I know what you are going through. I Love you. Thank you. (‘nuff said.)

      Birthdays and Holidays. A couple of years ago one of my friends who was new to FB at the time had said to me, “I don’t use FB too much, but I have to say that if it’s good for anything, it’s birthdays. I loved all the birthday wishes I got!

·         It’s a virtual scrapbook.

The scrapbook we never have time to work on. I used to be a scrapper. Now, I’m a wanna-be. Don’t have the time or the room for it. But the timeline on FB gives us a virtual scrapbook (and if I ever do have the time, I can single out items from FB—no in-home storage needed—and print them out! Do you know that you can go on friend’s page and click on “see friendship” and see only posts and pictures of you and that friend?)

·         It’s open 24 hours. 

I am a night owl. I went from working nights in bars after 14 years to working days in an office when I became a single mother. Nobody I worked with stayed up late at all, or would consider going out after 8 (it got worse when I started driving a school bus—damn, those bus drivers go to bed early!). And I would be home, the kids would be in bed and I’d be wide awake. Facebook gave me social time, without me having to get a babysitter and leave the house. It was the same when I was working out of state; I could still ‘visit’ with my friends.

·         It allows you to make and keep connections.

There is a safe feeling in the anonymity we feel when hiding behind a computer screen. For some, it does give them the opportunity to put on a false front for causing trouble—but we aren’t focusing on them right now. We can drop our masks and be fearless and say what we want. And sometimes, that can lead to some real friendships when conversations turn deep. I’ve made some wonderful friends that I treasure this way, and we’ve even gone out of our ways to meet each other in person.

·         It can encourage spontaneity.

Not doing anything? Want to? See what your friends are doing, where they are going. And just go. Friend surprises are nice (just don’t interrupt anniversary plans or anything like that!) J

·         It’s good for reunions.

Any kind. How nice it is to find someone again that at one time had a big part in your daily life. Not just find them, but be able to be in constant communication with them. No more thinking, “I wonder what happened to…” Social media even affects school reunions. More people are able to be contacted. And it’s nice that with even only the barest of online communication, when you see each other face to face there is still enough recent contact that the ice is already broken. No more, “Oh my God! It’s SO nice to see you again…” and then both are staring at each other with smiles plastered on their faces, not knowing what to say, until someone just walks away! There will be enough recent information for conversation!

And then there are other types of reunions.

...reunited and it feels so good... (sorry! song break!)

·         It offers free advertisement and promotion.

While the Home Plate restaurant in Taunton may not know Kathy-O, I’m sure they were well aware of an increase in sales of Rocket Pop Martini’s after her first picture was posted!

Our friends are writing books and making music and art. We can find out when they’re performing, or when their product comes out. Groups of friends can follow another friend’s band.

·         It encourages us to go out and get together.

(See previous paragraph). We create groups on Facebook and do things together. We create artistic masterpieces and abandon them randomly for whoever is lucky enough to find them. We give each other ideas of things to do. We try new recipes (or, in my case, find someone to cook for us) and we share them. We have more meals together because of this. We see our friends going to a certain bar or family establishment and we decide to go because of what they had to say about it.

·         It promotes sharing.

(See previous paragraph). Ideas, information…even things. “Hey, I have this item and I don’t need it anymore…”

A friend’s mother passed recently. My friend lives out of state. But I was able to go to the wake because I heard about it on FB, and it was held here near me. I hadn’t seen her mother since we were in high school. I hadn’t seen my friend since our high school reunion, and before that not since high school. But when we were kids I went on a number of their family trips with them. They were the ones that got me liking the clam cakes at Rocky Point Park. Even without having had new time to have spent with them, I would have been sad if I hadn’t found out about it and been able to pay my last respects to a woman who included me in her family for a period of our lives.

We are given the opportunities to share memories with shared friends. We can remember together, and laugh and cry together.

·         We can talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Conversations don’t have to wait until someone is near a phone—or even awake, for that matter. Even when time is an issue (or time zones), you can have an ongoing conversation with anyone. Yes, it may take longer than a call or face-to-face, but when life gets busy this is a little sunshine. And, it even encourages more face time.

When I worked in an office I was able to just turn to my co-worker if I wanted to take a moment’s break and just talk. I work at home now, in my bedroom. There are no co-workers to hear me, even if I yell. I’m already on the computer, so I just click the mouse and can have a quick chat or laugh with someone and just as quickly go back to work.

·         It adds to travel plans.

Driving somewhere? How many friends are on that route? How many let you know that you are welcome to stop by and visit? Flying anywhere? Who lives near where you will be? Wouldn’t it be nice to see them?

And now for the “What ifs”:

What if the global climate has changed so much 100 years from now that our pictures of sunsets, the sky and the moon mean something to someone who doesn’t have the same sky to look at? What if cooking is so different then that someone finds a picture of a meal or recipe that was posted and relearns food? Or makes an actual scientific discovery about something because of something, anything, that showed up in one of our pictures? What if something we did now just made someone smile later?

Or, you could look at it this way:

We are the record keepers. One day years from now someone will be looking back and find something we left. I remember how cool it was, when I worked in a law office and we found a will that was handwritten from the early 1900’s. Or when I was working in the bar (established 1924) and found some really old bar tools, coins and handwritten receipts and tabs. With the exception of those who created time capsules, most of us aren’t looking to really ‘leave’ anything for posterity; we just go about our lives. What a record we, those of us born to baby-boomers and just after, are leaving about this whole historical period of technology? We who were getting into the job markets as they were changing so drastically? Those of us who got “introductory” computer classes in school without a computer in the room? All the changes made and being made in schooling? How many incarnations of television and home video (video games?) have we seen? Or the cell phone?

How much easier would researching our genealogy be if they had then what we have now?

Maybe later someone will find something we wrote or posted and say, “Wow look how they did that!” or “Even that long ago people felt this way!”

Or, they may just say, “Wow. They were fucking idiots back then!”

(Either way, they’ll have enough proof to write a book about it.)

FaceBook and other social media sites do not replace real time with real people, but they don’t kill real communication, either. We do that on our own. It all comes down to us.

Monday, August 25, 2014

This Nest will Never Be Empty (Freedom, NH)

A gathering spot

forged by the determination

of the matriarch

A Robin built her nest

keep Family rooted

Feathered by photographs old and new,

artistic creations, markings of growth

Expressions of all who’ve come and gone

Line the walls, the trees, the land, the breeze…

A Living History

For each member, a fortress of solitude

surrounded by loving memories.

Obvious even to the outsider

that no matter how far one bird flies away

her song remains.

Cindy was here.

I was lucky enough to be invited to this special place that has been a friend's family's gathering spot for over 50 years. I was in awe and humbled by the history around me, not knowing a place like this myself. A place you can be alone, or to visit those who've gone and feel they're still there, and of course to create new memories. Whatever we think about our own family members, whatever problems we've gone through...they are still a part of us. I imagine that such a place can make one feel whole. To have a place like this is a real treasure, and it makes me want to start one for my own family.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Easy like Sunday Morning

Easy...Easy like Sunday Morning...

Sorry for any unintentional earworm; that song still beats the “Que Sera, Sera” that I woke up to. It's also better than the other Lionel Richie songs that have been tormenting me all week!

But this morning was easy (it certainly helped that my headache was gone). I woke up to a quiet house with the sun shining through the windows. Neither of my girls are here, so I can walk around wearing whatever I’d like and there are no immediate “have-to-dos” until I’m ready to do them. For the first time in almost 2 years I went out on my porch with my coffee and sat there a long while. I did it a lot the first summer I moved in, but then my friend Don passed…and many things happened all at once making it hard to have any kind of relaxing mornings. I’m not a morning person, either, which also makes a difference.

I’d like to thank Mother Nature for this morning as well. It feels like summer today. I remember two weeks ago stepping outside one morning and feeling that change in the air; it felt like a school morning, the beginning of those days where you need a jacket in the mornings and evenings, and I remember cursing that summer was already over. I needed summer today. Thank you.

I stayed out on the porch for a long time, quietly, feeling the sun on my back and shoulders. Almost like meditating, I thought, which reminded me that I was going to try it again this week. Maybe I can do it without falling asleep this time.

And I thought…and thought. Without hurt or anger. Without beating myself up about anything (that alone is an accomplishment). I just enjoyed my coffee and my porch. My porch. I have a great job now that’s allowing me to keep it.

I went to a friend’s house the other night.

--Have I mentioned yet that I have the best friends? I do. And I can’t say enough to anyone out there, male or female: surround yourself with true friends. You will always feel love.

Anyway, I was able to pull my head out of my ass long enough to talk about my job. I noticed that. I was wary of spending any one-on-one time with anyone, because I talk (and write) about whatever’s first on my mind—and at the time, I was so sick of my own thoughts that I was afraid I wouldn’t talk about anything but what was bothering me. So it was nice to talk about something I felt positive about. The whole evening was very nice—and needed. And then another night by the fire with my best friend (and her father) while our daughters played together. My conversation was not as productive, but the company was still awesome. So was the music, the food, and the wine.

While I was sitting out on the porch my new neighbor from across the street went out to his car. He gives me a chuckle every time I see him. He and his girlfriend moved in less than five months ago. They’re not very social. He must work from home because I see him all the time. He must forget (and have) a lot of things in his car, because that’s all I see him do—go out to his car, get something and go back inside. The real funny part is how he dresses; socks with sandals, some type of plaid (or patterned) shorts that always hang low—not like the low pants that the kids wear today; it’s more like he just forgot to pull them up (or maybe he threw them on just to go out to his car), and a white T-shirt that doesn’t fit properly. He looks like the hung-over college kid who is always passed out on someone’s couch, even when he is standing up.

Not that I’m totally one to judge; since I started working from home my ‘attire’ –even when I leave the house for a quick errand—could be considered…questionable.

I just gave myself a chuckle there.

I have to work on acceptance. And patience. I really, really, really, hate that fucking word. I cannot control anything or anyone, other than myself (and even that is questionable at times). But I still have everything that I need, and I do want what I already have. I’m grateful that I’m quiet today, and that I’m able to be (it doesn’t usually happen), even if there is a tinge of sadness about all of it. Okay, more than a tinge—but I’m still here. Will any of this matter five years from now? (laughing at myself for that one). Yes. Maybe not in the way I had hoped, but whatever positive work I do now on myself now will make me better later. I may not even be here five years from now; I learned that from Don, Maria, and Mark. So while I’m working on myself I will remind myself to also live, and enjoy what I have. And to try to stop beating myself up. I’m not perfect—or not the way I want to be. But I’m perfectly me (I’ll appreciate that later).

I’m grateful for my porch. I’m grateful for my friends. I’m grateful for my family. I’m grateful for music. I’m grateful for my job. I’m grateful for you. I’m grateful for my wonderful daughters who I hope will grow up to be more adjusted and confident than I was or am (even just a little will be an improvement). And, of course, I’m grateful for coffee.

I’m grateful for how I feel right at this moment. I hope any steps backward I take don’t take me too far back from this point right now. I hope for nothing specific outside of that.

I guess this means it’s time for me to move on…or just move. Just keep taking steps. It’s all a dance, right? Move side to side, forward or back. Be light on your feet and try not to step on anyone’s toes. Spin in circles, but only to enough break things up without making yourself dizzy. Allow for mis-steps, but keep dancing. Even if you trip and fall, get back up. And enjoy the music, whatever song (happy or sad) is playing.

Thanks for listening.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Morning Coffee and Desolation...Mourning Desolatte?

I’ve been advised
that it’s like playing poker
it’s all a gamble.
Sometimes you win
Sometimes you don’t.
But I’ve played poker before
The thing is
That every time
--every single time--
Before I even sat down to play,

I knew I was invited to a game.


I’ve grieved before.
I know this feeling
of watching the world carry on
business as usual,
and not feeling a part of it


I put away your birthday gift. Though sad that I never got the chance to give it to you I was glad, because I know now it would’ve meant nothing. My own words in the card that I made mocked me; reason, season or lifetime? I guess I have my answer.


I gave you one less thing to worry about
one less responsibility
though I was low on the list of priorities
more of your time is now free


The flame throws its warmth
to everyone near
It can live forever
by igniting others.
Or it can die
snuffed immediately by a breeze
that left you wondering where it came from
It can flicker,
slowly dying,
fighting valiantly to hold on to the oxygen
that is now in short supply.
No matter how it’s extinguished,
when it’s gone,
you feel the chill.


You taught me many things
I’ll value those lessons later
But you held back on your best skill
Something I would’ve appreciated sooner
Because right now
I wish I knew
how to be


Silence was one thing I never expected to get from you
Complete and utter


Friday, August 15, 2014

Roller Skating

The Girls’ Club, Highland Heights, Silver City… if you grew up in Taunton, MA in the late 70’s through the 80’s this was the natural progression of roller skating (and the music that went with it—to this day I can’t hear Grand Funk’s “Locomotion” without thinking of The Girls’ Club).

On some of the school bus charters I drive for during the summer, I’m able to take my kids with me. Today, I drove a camp group to a roller rink and took my 9 year old daughter. It was the first time I’d been on roller skates in about 10 years (the last time, I was with my other daughter, who was about that same age, I think). Before that, I hadn’t been on skates since high school.

My daughter hasn’t skated much; we went around the loop twice hugging the wall before I saw that the rink rented those walkers-on-wheels. What a difference that made! She enjoyed herself even more than I thought she would—and it showed on her face! It was great.

And I enjoyed myself, too. I remember how much I enjoyed those skate nights. I remember how good it felt to build up speed and then coast around the corner…and it all came back. The carpet covered spools at Highland Heights that you never sat on—you always ‘landed’ on them…always tripping as you went up the stairs to the booths at Silver City…taffy at the Girls’ Club. Whizzing by a friend and tapping them on the opposite shoulder…laughing at each other if anyone fell. The rough going skating on the rug until you got to the smooth floor and you would just glide, the breeze from your speed on your face and through your hair. Sitting at the snack bar booths and feeling the vibration from all the wheels on the floor and the music. Holding sweaty hands with a boy when you got to skate with him. When your favorite song came on…

It was a teensy bit of a bummer to not get more of the full experience—the wrong music was playing. They did play “YMCA”, though; I got a little bit of a tingle.

…all of it. You put your skates on once, and they didn’t come off until you were done—even if you had a blister. How heavy your feet felt in the skates when you sat down one more time before your last skate. And when you took your skates off that blister was THROBBING, but you could still feel yourself gliding as you walked in your socks to return the skates.

It was almost like it used to be…almost. This time I was not able to skate as freely with my inexperienced daughter on wheels. She begged to go around by herself, and I let her. I got half way around on my own before she fell (we all knew that would happen). But it reminded me that I want to do it more often. And I even still want to get myself some rollerblades and skate on my own outside—I don’t care if it’s not trendy anymore. God knows one day I’m really going to have to start exercising, anyway, and I really do enjoy skating. Besides, all the roller-bladers have the greatest legs, don’t they? It’s been on my not-so-bucket list for about 10 years, anyway (bucket lists are for one-time events; not-so-bucket lists are for things you want to do more than once). I'm going to get some before my 48th birthday--someone please check back with me before October 2, 2015 to make sure I finally did.

Those skating days were fun…so free. And today was fun, too, until I was brought sharply out of my reverie when a little girl fell near us. I ended up on the floor with her trying to console her until her chaperone came over. Afterwards, I’m struggling to my feet (it’s been a while) and my daughter came over to whisper in my ear, “Mom, your butt crack was showing.” 

Jeans were higher back then, weren’t they?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Laughing At Myself Is Progress, Right?

Everything is a process, right? I decided to keep track of my days for one week to see if I’d be able to make any progress. I wasn’t going to write about any more than that. I’ve already shown how pathetic I can be—no need to hammer it home, right? So I started writing out my First Day:

Day 1 (or “The Day After” or “A-”):

Cried immediately upon waking up, knowing today was the first day I wasn’t going to send him a good morning text. I did that as much for me as for him, because he was always my first thought of the day, and I enjoyed being able to do it.

Dealt with the fallout of my previous blog. Some people were horrified and probably more than a little embarrassed for me that I would put my feelings out there like that. As usual, I fought the urge to explain myself. And as usual, didn’t do too well.

Checked. Head still up ass.

Made plans with some friends for later in the week. Lucky to have them. Should remind myself of that a little more.

Spent a good portion of the day with the same thoughts anyone post-breakup would have: Does he think of me at all? Does he miss me even a little? Does he care? Along with the usual, random thought-scenarios revolving around any future contact. Torture. As if I don’t beat myself up enough.

Reminded myself rather harshly that there would be no ‘grand gesture’ to turn things around when they looked their bleakest. Remembered that there are many differences between ‘reel life’ and ‘real life’ and maybe I shouldn’t watch so many movies.

Despite that, watched “The Holiday” again. Tried not to be too cynical. Did not watch the end of “Never Been Kissed.” Stayed away from “Bridget Jones’ Diary” lest I took a cue and began lip-syncing bleeding-heart songs while drunk (while creating the opportunity for more stupidity). I have alcohol in my house now…sigh. It could happen.

Thought about changing my moon (he turned it around). Realized I couldn’t. (Keeping that one small item to myself)

Cried. Wished things could have been different (repeated as necessary. That number will remain private).

Tried to work. Succeeded a little. Prompted more by the fact that I knew I was out of milk and work brings me milk—no milk means no coffee. As if THAT wouldn’t pour salt into a wound.

Cried knowing I wasn’t going to hear from him today. Followed by the small feeling of relief that at least I wasn’t going to have to wait to hear from him. Knowing is always better than waiting, even if what you know sucks….aaaaand back to sad. I have no patience.

RAN to the phone at every notification and ring…just in case. Kicked myself each time.

Reread old messages—only the good ones. Achieved the expected results. Added masochism to list of self-qualities.

Checked. Still pathetic.

Awareness is good.

UH OH...

After reviewing only one day’s (un)productiveness, I had a few thoughts:
  •  Writing something down will not make change happen, no matter how desperately I write or how hard I press down with the pen. Fuck.
  • Great. A black-and-white blueprint that is going to show me that this could take a long time. Fuck.
  •  Methinks this may not be a good idea. Fuck.
  •  Me also thinks I have to work on patience some more. Fuck.
  • I do not have any kind of superpowers that can make this go away, or whisk me into a future where I am less pathetic. Fuck. I thought I had superpowers.
  • FUCK.

I’m sensing a pattern here.

There will not be any more writing about this. At least not directly. You’ve all seen enough (and it can’t be unseen). Tomorrow, I will put my game face on, pull up my big-girl panties and repeat, “Suck it up, Cupcake!” and get through another day. And I will. And I will do that the next day, too. And the next. And I will be fine, because I have everything I need.

N.B. to the Universe: This patience thing could take a while. Just sayin’.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Exposing Myself

Exposing myself. I’m an expert at it, right? Whoa, an ex-stripper saying she was going to expose herself –that must be something big!

--Yes, I did say that. And I know what I said. That’s part of what this is.

There are different levels of exposure. To many people I have no shame or filter. I will openly talk about sex (and liking it), getting my period (praying for menopause), shaving my legs (fucking hate it), and many other things that people don’t feel should be discussed in public. I am loud, obnoxious, and in-your-face with my opinions. What people don’t realize is how intensely private I really am. What people see is what I choose to let them see. It’s easy for me to talk openly about certain things because, to me, they aren’t what really matter. By being loud about certain things and putting the focus on them, I am able to keep hidden what I consider personal or private. It’s all – all of it – smoke and mirrors. Razzle-dazzle. “How can they see with sequins in their eyes?” Like using humor as a defense mechanism, being “open” about uncomfortable or taboo subjects is also another way to keep the focus off of other things. Sleight of hand. Like who I really am and how I really feel, and what is really important to me – which may not be the same as what is important to you.

Not anymore. Or at least not right now. There is a twofold reason for this. First, this is for me; I write because I have to. Whatever I’m feeling, I cannot begin to process it until I write it down. Putting it “out there” is my way of sort of signing a contract with the Universe, which is why when I put something out for display I try to make sure that it is positive. I do not want to encourage the collective negativity. The second reason – and this has to do with what I’m going through right now – is actually now for you. Judgment is a funny thing. I have lived most of my life under it, and have always felt it. A few years ago I was finally able to let it go. What other people thought of me didn’t matter. The only time someone’s judgment of me mattered was when it directly affected the people that I love. When people were judged because of their connection to me, or when my children got treated a different way because they were mine. What you thought of me never mattered, which actually made it fun for me to be a little outrageous. I played with it and then consciously began to set it up that way. It actually allowed me a lot of freedom; if I did something completely ridiculous it would not be questioned, it would just be accepted as “Susie being Susie.” And then the oddest thing happened; people began reading what I was writing and saying these wonderful things. The word “inspiring” was mentioned a few times. And I realized that I was uncomfortable with that. While I do love having my stuff read, I still write it for me. I don’t know; maybe I worry about expectations. I think about all the politicians that gain favor initially only to be shot down when someone comes forth with private information. I feel bad for them when that happens. Right away they rush to denial (“I did not inhale!”).

--No, I am not a fan of politicians, or politics for that matter. But everyone, everyone, has something worthwhile about them, some positive purpose, some reason to be loved.

To those of you that have said those wonderful things about me; I have trouble accepting them because I feel like a fraud.  I do not have my shit together. I’m not even close, especially not now. If I seem to know anything, or have any special insight on something, it’s only because of my personal experience with it; and I would not necessarily call that a good thing all the time. There are many things that I don’t know about. I have never owned a home, finances are beyond me, and I only just recently learned what the basic difference was between Japanese and Chinese food. I don’t have any experiences with the death of a parent or child. I only know what I’ve been through. And not all of it is worthwhile.

I do realize the connection between judgment and expectations. In some way expectations are a form of judgment. We have expectations other people based on how we perceive them – how we judge them to be. And I know I said I don’t care if you judge me but that I worry about expectations, which doesn’t necessarily make sense. Again, this is part of the changes that I’m going through now.

I’m very aware of the parts of myself that I’ve kept hidden. I know that I am a lot softer than I pretend to be. Only the people close to me know who I really am; as far as I was concerned, they were the only ones who needed to.

The last three years have been amazing for me (keep in mind that the word amazing can have more than one connotation-- one can be amazed at something magical and wondrous and equally amazed at stupidity). I have learned more, experienced more, even suffered more in that one encapsulation of time than I have in all the preceding years. When I sit and think about everything that happened my head still spins. In less than two years’ time I have made two very extreme career changes, I came within an inch of losing everything just last summer, and have lost three people who were very close and very dear to me. I’ve been forced to rely on the people around me more than I’ve ever wanted to.

Having to swallow your pride is bad enough, but it’s even worse when you realize just how much there is to eat.

Right now, I have a job that I call the “first step of the dream.” For the first time in my life I am being paid to write. I can’t tell you how much I smile every time I think of that. I am able to work from home, which is something I’ve always wanted to do. And I’m making enough money to support myself – I have not been able to say that for a long time. Every week is still very tight, because I am digging myself out of a very large hole. But it’s all good and I’m not complaining because I did not think I would have the opportunity to do both – live and pay backwards. Technically speaking, the problems that I have are good problems to have. I am making progress.

And on the flipside I am still struggling with my happiness about my new job because of the events that led up to me getting it. I have the job that was once occupied by one of my dear friends that is no longer here. As much as I love this job, I would let it-- and everything wonderful it has allowed me to do--go in a heartbeat if it meant getting that person back. Another special friend of mine said that it was like “he bequeathed it (the job) to me.” That does make it sound a little special, however I am thrown for a loop every time someone asks me how I got it.

With all these changes happening around me I am beginning to realize that I am a lot softer than I thought. My heart is open and I feel vulnerable… exposed...and that bothers me. Why? There’s a lot tied up in all of this. First of all, I like being a hard-ass. And finding out that I’m not is more than unsettling. I am beginning to feel almost like I don’t know who I am anymore. And I find that I’m actually angry at myself for feeling so vulnerable. I know where that comes from, which only makes me angrier.

I’ve discussed my father a few times here before. We’ve had quite the relationship, to say the least. I call him a male chauvinist regularly; he doesn’t like it. But I grew up being taught that being soft was wrong, that being emotional was wrong, that being dependent was wrong – and I was taught that all of those traits were female. I remember when it was time to start considering driving lessons for me (and my two sisters that are close in age), he began his own form of driving lessons for us, beginning with learning about the inside of a car before we were allowed to get behind the wheel because, “MY daughters will NOT be ‘women drivers’!” I’m sorry, Dad, but I come by my opinions honestly. And I love you.

I’m changing; I can feel it. And it’s not just my age, it’s the new experiences I’ve been having and new possibilities that I’m seeing. I never denied that I built up walls to protect myself; I just didn’t realize I had so many. Then one person got through without my even realizing it, or that there had even been a wall there. And then I became vulnerable, and unsure, and I began to question who I was all over again. When I realized how vulnerable I felt I could hear my father’s words and his derision coming at me all over again-- the problem is that they are not coming from him now, they are coming from me. Do you know how galling that is to see that in myself? All those battles he and I have had, how many times I have felt the need to defend myself to him, to feel for all these years that I eventually won that battle, that right to be myself only to realize that I’m fighting it all over again, but now with myself? To realize that in some respects he got the son he wanted? That I cannot tolerate myself for being “female”? I can’t count how many times I have stood up in some way, shape or form for women – and all the while I wasn’t truly allowing myself to be one? How arrogant is that of me? To allow that it was okay for others and not myself?

So, here’s the dirt. The low-down. The ugly truth. The real exposure—not my body, not my opinions, but me. The following of the idea behind Tears For Fears’ “Break it Down Again” and the understanding that right now there’s “no more building up; it is time to dissolve” and start over:

I fell in love. If you could only hear the derision I hear when I say that. I must have thought I was above it, at least to this extent. I never went out looking for a relationship and didn’t want one—or didn’t feel one was necessary to be happy. Because I was happy. And he came looking for me. All of it started with him. And I let him in. I invited him into my life, let him meet my kids—I crossed many lines for him, and he didn’t do the same for me in spite of what he said he wanted. And for whatever reason, he decided he didn’t love me enough to make me a priority, or just didn’t love me anymore—no matter, the end result is the same. And now I am a pathetic, useless and depressed female. Imagine that. I’d be much prouder of myself if I let something that was actually serious get me down, like the real issues going on in the world, or concern over the health of my family.

Because I was already happy, I wasn’t looking for anything else. But he changed that. He showed me possibilities I hadn’t considered. Which of course, I am now angry about. Ignorance is truly bliss. You can’t miss what you didn’t see. I am also angry at myself for ignoring the signs—I did see them—of the abrupt lack of attention, the “no time” for me, and then no communication. While I feel legitimately pissed off at his cowardice—that is what it was: avoidance is cowardice (and yes, my knowledge does come from personal experience), He made me feel lonely--and I never got lonely. I am more angry that I let any of this happen; that I’m allowing it to get to me—that I’ve been hurt to a depth I hadn’t thought possible. Right now I feel like my heart is being sucked out of my chest. Over a guy. I really wish I were gay. My best girl friends would never have done this to me; they would have been honest.

Contrary to what some of you may be thinking, this has nothing to do with getting him back. He stopped reading anything I wrote months ago, anyway. And he’s already received more than enough of my attention and my own precious (at least to me) time. What I am telling you is that there is nothing inspiring here. This is a train wreck you should have no problem looking away from. Because my “problem” isn’t based on anything solid. Because I’m having a serious battle with my own ego. I cannot stand myself right now—and I used to be my own favorite company. Because my silly pain is self-inflicted. If any of you find this inspiring, I am truly sorry.

There is a positive side, though, I’m sure of it. It is too deeply ingrained in me that there is ALWAYS a plus side, even if at the moment my head is shoved up my ass too far to see it. But I will find my rose-colored glasses and put on my ‘fucking cheerleader’ outfit…later. Right now I’m going to hide. And grieve. And dissolve. And get past my self-loathing. And heal. And learn. And rebuild.

But I will not rebuild defensive walls. I will embrace the side of me I didn’t know I hated (I guess there were too many others taking center stage) and we will learn to get along…or at least, co-exist peacefully, even if it kills me.

If this is me reaping what I've sown, so be it. And shame on me if I don't learn from it.

So, to the Universe, I’m going to say thank you (no matter what I am feeling right now) for the hidden lesson in this (I will find it) and I will work on my acceptance… and maybe even patience (please consider this a signed contract).

And to the rest of you:

I inhaled.

Friday, August 8, 2014



Sunrise is the beginning of the day
Sunset begins night
Beginnings happen in many ways
With a smile,
On a tear.
Like a wave
-which is both hello and goodbye
A beginning is an ending,
An ending a beginning
They are the same
Both sides of the same coin
Each word, each breath, each thought
Is a beginning
Each starts with you
And is dependent on you
To make it


For my sister, Kelley-Jo.

I'm so proud of you for following your heart. May this new beginning bring many new and wonderful things your way. I love you.