Monthly Archives: November 2012

I might be a hypocrite, how ’bout you?

Question for ya… not rhetorical either (email me, Facebook, Twitter… whatever suits ya).  When you watch either or both of these videos do you a) find them to be funny? and b) find them to be in the “funny because it’s true” category?

my story…  I watched the first video and thought it was funny… and yeah, in the “funny because it’s true category” and then I watched the second video and thought it wasn’t funny, and mostly because it wasn’t true (to me)… and then I got to have a moment of self reflection (don’t you love those?  if only life would dole out more… <--sarcasm) and wondered if I was a hypocrite...  Did I think the first video was "true funny" because I'm not in the community who is the subject of the video so I believe the stereotypical norms it portrays.  Ewww, maybe I did... I'm not sure how I feel about that!  I mean, I know that playing on stereotypes can be damn funny... but why didn't I think the stereotypes about my community weren't funny?  Because they aren't... or because I'm *gasp* offended? (I'm not) Not judging myself here… or you, but truly authentically curious.  Are they funny?  Is one yes and the other no?  Which one?  And why? Video One:
 

 Video Two:
 

I missed the 15,000 hits mark

I think I was probably crying when it happened.

16048.  Nice work readers, nice work.

I did a major possession purge over Thanksgiving week.  Currently there are at least a dozen boxes and just as many bags of my soon to be former possessions creating a fire hazard in my underground parking space in the garage of my building.  The semi threatening email I received from the property manager insists they must be moved by Saturday which is exactly the day after they will be moved because the Salvation Army (who hates me for being gay, but I didn’t find that out until after I scheduled the pickup AND I’m craving Chik Fil A like a motherfucker–damn menstruation and it’s lack of cohesion with social justice) is picking them up.

It was mostly a non-monumental experience.  It felt good to make space…  this apartment has lacked it since we moved in almost six months ago because I brought 1400 sq feet of house into 600 sq feet of apartment–it was the best I could do at the time.

The monumental moment came when I picked up a stuffed bear who has been missing it’s nose for at least 25 years… probably closer to 30 because my little brother bit it off and as I gave it a goodbye hug I started sobbing.  I ended up curled in the fetal position on my bed amid white plastic trash bags stuffed like sausages full of clothes I haven’t been wearing because they’re either ugly, too big, or both… wailing, while my tears made a horrid mascara stain pool on my pillowcase.

Devon was there.  She was in the living room at the time working and her need for a bathroom break coincided with my breakdown nicely.  Before I knew it I was being cradled and after a minute of that the “why the fuck am I crying” question echoing in my thoughts was replaced by “oh, that’s why”
when “I miss my poppa” came out of my mouth without hesitation.

I don’t usually call him that (or at least without choking).  It’s his “name” or it was, but I just say “my dad” when I talk about him because it’s easier.  But there it was on my lips like it was natural and there the feeling was too… crystal clear… like it had never left.  But the thing is I hadn’t felt it for what felt like years.

I said it and the recognizing of the feeling resonated and reflected in her eyes.  More holding commenced.  It’s good to be loved.  It helps a sudden outburst of emotion resulting from an encounter with a stuffed bear named “bear” that turns out to be about someone whose been dead for 21 years be okay… good even.

Wondering where the sex is in this post?  Well folks… being in love… totally sexy.  Feeling safe enough to be a blubbery raccoon eyed mess and let your wounded sad little girl out to cry… totally sexy.  I’m telling you… sexy is big stuff.

Bananas and Holes in the Sidewalk

I mentioned that I’m taking an MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) class a few weeks ago when it started, but I don’t think I’ve said much about it since.  Tuesday night this week was the fourth class meeting meaning that for the three weeks between the first class meeting and tonight I have been practicing formal mindfulness (formal=sitting/lying down to intently meditate, body scan, do yoga, etc. vs. informal=choosing to pay attention to my breath in a stressful moment or while I’m in line at the market) for 45 minutes a day.

After the first two weeks of that practice (which per the MBSR prescription is a daily 40-45 minute body scan, some reading and occasional written homework, plus I would do some of my own sitting here and there) I was experiencing tremendous results.  My level of generalized anxiety had dramatically decreased and I noticed that when I was trigged by things that used to cause tremendous upset I was either less reactive or the reaction would be much shorter in duration and easier to move through back to emotional homeostasis.  I had even learned that I have even more positive results when I get up at 5:30am to start my day with a body scan meditation and changed my behavior to accommodate that practice (success!)

The thing is though…  a few of the core principles of mindfulness are non-judgement (good is a judgment folks… sit with that for a minute), non-striving, and non-attachment.  THAT… AND we’re not supposed to declare whether the program worked for us until the end (which I think is mostly for the folks who it doesn’t work for in the beginning but is also for the over-achievers like me to prevent us from burning out in an all too early blaze of glory when the results of our practice aren’t as stunning over time.

I was aware of the positive results.  I was aware of my desire to become attached to them.  And that’s pretty much as far as I got.  Knowing is half the battle–no one ever says what the other half is.

Cue week three when we’re instructed to introduce mindful yoga into our practice by alternating it with the body scan every other day.  I notice I’m somewhat averse to this… but I don’t know why.  I like yoga… hell, I’ve even loved yoga.  I’m also kind of resistant to activity lately which I think is just a result of it being difficult because my activity level has dropped so I’m not experiencing as much success as I’d like.  I figure this is the issue and go on with my life intended to begrudgingly do yoga instead of the body scan every other day (not figuring that I could actually do both if I wanted.  Sometimes my “rule follower” nature still drives the car [brain]).

Cue stabbing self in hand with knife two days later and deciding that I therefore “can’t” do yoga (although there is plenty of yoga I could have done, I welcomed the excuse to remain body scan monogamous).  Now, I knew at the time of the stabbing that it had a deeper meaning, and I knew later on when I wrote about it that I hadn’t explored it yet.  My first thought: “maybe you don’t love yourself enough.” Was met with a quick “fuck you.  yes I do.  this was an opportunity to prove that to myself and all of you judgy judgersons by doing right by myself after it happened!”  That felt good enough so again… I moved on!  (moving on is nice.  if you don’t do it regularly, I highly recommend it)

Tuesday evening this week in MBSR while others were sharing their observations about the week’s practice and the pseudo-celebrity was asking questions whose pondering take up most of the sharing time to answer… I realized that I had not been able to remain unattached to my success in the first two weeks of body scanning.  In fact… I had become so attached that I stabbed myself on the hand accidentally on purpose as a way to remain attached to the practice as it was.  Thing is, it didn’t work.  I body scanned every day in the third week of practice, but it was hard, I didn’t love it, and I didn’t feel particularly great afterward.  I was not as engaged in my practice as I had been before.

Now, what was THAT about?

The discussion from class went something like this… the honeymoon is over.  The class is halfway through and the practice has evolved.  The excitement is wearing off and it’s starting to feel less fun simply by virtue of becoming more comfortable or familiar.

And then there’s me, in my head: “oh fuck.  i’m attached and because i’m attached and am afraid of that attachment being broken… i am doing that thing i do.  i am trying to leave this relationship before it leaves me!”

wow.  That old one again…  haven’t seen that one in a while…

Class continues…

Autobiography In Five Chapters

1) I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost… I am hopeless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

2) I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I’m in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

3) I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in… it’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

4) I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

5) I walk down another street.

Portia Nelson 

Then…

How to Catch a Monkey: cut a small hole in a coconut, just large enough for a monkey to put its hand in. Next they would tie the coconut to a tree and put a banana inside.
The monkey would smell the banana, squeeze its hands into the coconut and grab the banana. Unfortunately the hole was not large enough for the monkey to pull out with his fist clenched. Of course the monkey could easily release itself from the trap by letting go of the banana and pulling its hand out but it simply cannot bring itself to do so.

and then the question… what are your bananas (and again, me, in my head…  “i don’t have any fucking bananas and I want to go home”  wow, apparently someone’s still trying to “leave” before she gets “left” here)?

*sigh*

My bananas/holes in the sidewalk… The places where I get stuck… The things that prevent me from being free:

  • perfectionism
  • fear of discomfort/difficulty
  • control (I thought all day that I was missing Spiderman because he’s with BFO for a week when really what I am is worried about him and how he’s being taken care of because it’s not me who’s taking care of him!)
  • attachment
It’s strange to be in a place where I’m so fresh off of Chapter 5 in the Autobiography poem for so many bananas/holes that I can still remember the way old routes smelled…  but I’m also in Chapters 1-3 for several things that have been uncovered recently or maybe Chapter 4 for some of the old ones that are needing more time and effort to choose to do differently…  I think the poet should add an additional chapter.
Chapter 6: repeat Chapters 1-5.

the epic sex post

Is calling something epic from the start the best way to set oneself up for success?  God(dess) <---*hehehe... this is the kind of shit that comes out when I write late at night* only knows... I mean, there's that whole "self fulfilling prophecy" thing, but there's also a lot of "living a life without expectation is the way to live" stuff going on in my life lately.  Where is the balance? Too bad we can’t explore that this evening because I promised you we were going to talk about sex tonight, so that is what we will do.  My mom asked me to warn her to stay away from this post, but honestly I’m not sure there’s going to be any NSFM (not suitable for mom) material in this.  I’m not going to describe my sex life in detail… and I could say that’s because it’s not just mine, it’s someone else’s too… but really even if it were just mine I still think I would maintain some privacy.  I don’t have a very high need for privacy, as you all already know…  but I guess this is a place where I do. Okay, more talking about it and less talking about not talking about it. Again, this topic (“get sexy”) made the FULLfillment project because I knew I wanted/needed to address it… it also came very late in the FULLfillment project because it scared the crap out of me!  Sexy isn’t something I ever considered myself and I wasn’t sure I wanted to either. Thing is, somewhere between designing the project and now… I found my sexuality… and I don’t mean my “I like lady parts and not boy parts” sexuality (that was this post)… I mean my sexual self (which includes but is not limited to the aforementioned quoted statement).

This month isn’t feeling as challenging as I expected it would be when it was conceived, except for deciding what to write about and whether it’s mom safe, but we’re not going back there right now…  let’s go even further back in time instead:

It’s the early-mid 90’s and I’m pubescent.  My mother gives me a book all about sex, sexuality, sexual health… etc.  The main message (that I took) from the book: masturbation is okay… good even. The main down side to the book: there were no instructions.  Okay… I get it… masturbation is okay.  Now how do I do it?

I actually didn’t figure it out for a few more years.  I spent some time trying to experience pleasure by penetrating myself with crayola markers and even electric toothbrushes (personal massager, anyone?) but it wasn’t particularly effective and I don’t have the greatest stick-to-it-iv-ness.  It wasn’t until my first boyfriend put his hand down my pants that I discovered the clitoris…  and that was all I needed to know  (apparently for a good long time…  after which it turns out it was still all I needed to know).

here are a couple of photos of me
with my finger stuck in a dildo

In high school, I took pride in the fact that my saxophone playing ambature made it easy for me to keep the corners of my lips tight for a long lasting blow job (okay, maybe my mom shouldn’t be reading this…) and that when a later boyfriend had an orgasm from a hand job his ejaculate (apparently I’m going to make this feel better by using very technical language) used to hit the wall behind his head (I believed this had something to do with my mad penis handling skills…).  The first time I saw a man (let’s be real: boy) achieve climax I realized what a horrible disservice I was doing to the first boyfriend who helped me find my pleasure button because nothing we ever did resulted in any kind of ending for him (I’m so sorry!  I had no idea!).

I lost my virginity at the latter end of my 16th year after ditching school for the day, eating delivered pizza while watching “airplane.”  I don’t remember a whole lot about it… it wasn’t super painful or super pleasant.  We definitely got better at it as time went on.

you know… just for kicks

Plugging along I had sex with teenage boys (when I was a teenage girl and it was legalish) and men later…  It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t that good either.  After the initial rush of new relationship wore off and if not for the desire to feel wanted I didn’t have much interest in sex.  I invented a “virginity score” system in college (to keep it interesting?) wherein a person gained a point for having sex with a virgin and lost a point for having sex with a non-virgin.  I developed (I think my advantage in the game existed before the game itself rather than the game being a motivator) a taste for virgins and had a great score running for a while there…

When I look back on my sex-capades with boys/men I have the overwhelming feeling that it didn’t matter that it was me most of the time.  That the goal, for the male, was to stick it in, after which point I could have been any hole really…  I don’t believe this is a judgment against their lovemaking skills (at least I don’t mean it to be)–I’m pretty sure it has a lot more to do with my interest in their equipment (and them in general) or lack thereof, but who knows really… I’m not sure I can claim that I knew how to pick ’em.

First time I separated from BFO I thought I should probably try and date women… I hadn’t ever and it seemed like something everyone should do at least once, but I didn’t get around to it.  After the final separation, it occurred to me again and before I knew it I was falling in love with a new female friend.  Our relationship ended up with a 4 hour make-out session followed by a 90 day lapse in contact during which I met Devon and the rest is history…

Cue discovering of sexuality.  Because, yeah… I had already discovered that I was sexually/emotionally attracted to women but I still didn’t know what sexy was.  I had only been comfortable with that word (s-e-x-y) a few years before.  Prior to that it would never have come out of my mouth.  So, I was having all of these experiences of enjoying things/experiences/qualities, being drawn to/attracted to things/experiences/qualities… but I never saw them as sexy until someone who was undeniably sexy gave them that description (but she spells it with two Xs, because that’s her thing…).

Suddenly:

  • list making–sexy (not a coincidence that this is a list… she reads this blog and i know my audience) 
  • color coding–sexy.  
  • calendaring–sexy.  
  • spreadsheets–sexy.  
  • making art–sexy.
  • whipping up a Robin costume to compliment Spiderman’s “Batman” in an afternoon–super sexy (just in case you didn’t catch that… that means: being a fun mom–sexy).
  • the list goes on…

On one of our first dates we had a lengthy conversation about our favorite office supplies which was quite titalating…

apparently we aren’t the only ones who find organization alluring…

And suddenly, I’m experiencing life through a different lens.  I’m in a relationship where the dynamic allows for conversation about what’s sexy… and it can be anything.  And it turns out… I have a really fucking sexy life, and a lot of it has absolutely nothing to do with sex and way more to do with me (and her) and who I am (we are).  And, in case it isn’t clear, none of this is new… these aren’t things I do on purpose to be or feel sexy… this is just me… and me appreciating me and me appreciating being appreciated by someone else (did you follow that last part?)

Now my sex life isn’t driven by the goal of “sticking it in.”  It seems incredibly personal and specific to me… to us…  and I can’t believe I ever did it any other way.

I don’t think I need to “get sexy” anymore.  I am sexy… I just needed to realize that and now that I have I just need to remain open to finding out more about what that means.

Ack! I’ve been attacked!

I mentioned it in passing on Friday night when I was eager to get to the market to get the ingredients for White Bean, Chard, and Pancetta pot pies and didn’t want to be writing or thinking about what happened…  but I’m ready to talk about it now.

In a haphazard attempt to pry apart two frozen salmon patties on Thursday evening, I put a butcher knife into my hand.  It happened super fast, and I acted fast too.  I piled paper towels up on it, wrapped the hand in ace bandage and knowing that I had put enough pressure on to stop the bleeding then resting my hand on top of my head, put the salmon patties on the stove to cook and paced around my apartment wondering what to do next.  I sat down at the computer for a moment and googled “how do I know if I need stitches” which revealed nothing… Then I called my mom, who in her attempt to avoid coercion encouraged me to go see a doctor without telling me to go see a doctor.  Then, knowing they would tell me to go in and get it checked out, I called the nurse advice line at my insurance/medical provider (anyone else see an issue with the insurer and the provider being the same entity?  yeah.  me too… we can discuss that later though) and waited on hold for about 15 minutes before hanging up.

Having had responded so quickly to the stabbing I really wasn’t sure what I was dealing with so I went back to the scene of the crime to do a little investigation.  What I remembered from the glimpse I got of the wound was that it was about an inch long… and what I remembered from how it happened I knew the knife went straight in.  So, I looked at the tapered point of the knife and discovered that in order to make a cut an inch long it would have had to be embedded in my flesh about an inch deep.  Yeeouch.

Next step: get on the phone with Devon who was housesitting for a friend who lives only 4 minutes away and asking to be taken to urgent care.  I know this doesn’t sound like a big deal to most… but this was hard for me to do.  First, deciding to go to a doctor rather than attempting to sew/steri-strip up my own hand is pretty big for me.  Second, deciding that I needed someone to help me (and Spiderman, he’s home this whole time engrossed in a cartoon oblivious to the carnage going on behind him) get there safely rather than believing in some false super powers I have, also a biggie… and third, asking the person I’m in love with and have been dating for four months, but am not officially “in a relationship” with (until a couple days later-woot!) and who is very squeamish and may be very uncomfortable in this situation…  um… SUPER HUGE.  The “worst case” scenario in my head was that we get to the doctor, they tell me I’m fine, put a band-aid on me, call me dramatic with their eyes, and I’ve wasted Devon’s time, she’s been miserable having to deal with my kid and my bloody hand, and I feel guilty and full of shame.

What can I say?  I got issues.

On the way to urgent care the nurse advice line called me back and started asking questions about what happened.  I tried to answer but I’m still sensitive to the potential worst case scenario so I’m trying to describe it while not describing it as Devon tries to move as far away from me in the car as a driver can move from the person in the front, passenger seat.  Urgh–is the worst case scenario happening before my eyes?!  Eventually I use my gift for radical honesty and tell the advice nurse why I’m being so elusive and she speeds up her assessment and tells me I need to be in the Emergency Room, not the urgent care office.  Instead of hearing “you’re seriously injured” I heard an addendum to the worst case scenario that I can’t recall well enough to describe in detail, but definitely is about taking the drama up a few notches.

Of course the worst case scenario doesn’t happen… it rarely does with me because I have a gift for imagining things up that are worse than life gets.  We go to the ER.  Angus and Devon play, I’m a charming, pleasant patient as usual.  I get 5 stitches which seems to be an appropriately dramatic treatment for the level of drama of the injury itself.  The ER nurse is all in tune with my drama motive and gives me an extra bulky bandage that will draw lots of attention.  He also tells me to use a butter knife next time which is helpful because I had been thinking to myself:

“self, how are you going to prevent this from happening again?  I know you and I know it’s not likely that you’re going to change your behavior…  you WILL try to pry something frozen apart with a butcher knife again and hopefully you’ll remember to put your other hand in a safer place next time.  I guess that’s the best chance we’ve got.”  And… instead of that half ass attempt at self-preservation I got to keep my foolish behavior and still be safe by just using a different tool!  brilliant!

I tried to apologize to Devon for taking her away from her evening plans and she was lovingly reassuring that this is what she was supposed to be doing this evening which even the broken, worst case scenario creating parts of me believed.  We go back home (Spiderman threw a tantrum about potato chips on the ride home which was unpleasant, but hey… we all survived) and I still manage to get to bed before 10pm that night which was my goal for the entire day.

And the next day… I am high on life!  If I think about the injury and how it happened I feel pretty wiggly inside (and not in that good “wiggly in my panties” kind of way) but if I just accept the attention that comes from having the dramatic bandage and think about how loved I feel after the whole worst case scenario turned best case scenario thing I am goooo-oood.  And this feels surprising!  I mean, I have a pretty major injury and it hurts (but I almost don’t feel the pain because I am so happy in the head)… But I chalk it up to the reward of doing right by myself: allowing myself to get vulnerable and ask for help, and accept it, and have it work beautifully and feel loved and… yeah–good stuff.  I spend zero time wondering why it happened or what I’m supposed to learn from it or exploring the symbolism behind causing myself so much harm (yadda yadda-my normal headspace-yadda yadda) and I am just really fucking proud of myself.

hello.  i am a caterpillar.  aren’t i cute?

And the day after that…  I find myself staring at my hand in the shower moaning “somebody stabbed me!” and it’s gone a bit downhill since.  The pain has been more present, the bruising on my palm is getting darker before the dawn, and in general I feel a bit assaulted.  I still haven’t gone into “why do I hate myself enough to stab myself in the hand” because it feels unproductive and untrue… BUT I have definitely been a whiney-whiner-pants and I’m hurt by what happened.

My hand looks gnarly…  and also like a caterpillar is sitting on it, but mostly gnarly… and it hurts my feelings to think about/recall/experience that someone stabbed me in the hand (and that someone was me).

I’ll write something about dildos on Wednesday.  Promise.

an extra hour

wounded, but just physically this time.
it’s a nice change of pace.

all of a sudden i have an hour to myself that i didn’t know i would have…

this seems like it would be a good thing, but there are too many days in my life where it becomes another one of those “too many choices=paralysis” moments.  today, however, it feels luxurious.  there are tons of things i can do… but instead of debating which ones i’m just going to do what i feel like doing.  and most of things probably aren’t on my to-do list at all!

so… now… because yesterday i (accidentally, if that’s not obvious) put a knife into the pad of my hand that warranted a trip to the ER and needed 5 stitches, and last weekend i took an amazing writing/acting workshop that brought me back into my body and my life, and a few days ago i learned that I am FINALLY divorced, and I’m only going to see my kid for a day or so over the next 9…  I’m going to go do stuff…  I’ve got sexiness to commence with.  Call it “research” for the blog.

Oh yeah, actually that is a really good idea… because let me tell you what you people want… you want to hear about gay sex.  If I mention it in the slightest in the teaser line in my tweet or facebook post you all are all over that post…  you guys are perverts.  but I’m happy to oblige.  for now, let me go have a conversation about boundaries with my beloved and start gathering material (as if i need more material… hehehe)

until Monday.

I’m Divorced!

I found out today that I’m divorced.  I have been for 7 days.  I’m trying to remember what was happening 7 days ago and if I felt any different… any disturbances in the force.  I can’t (remember).  My memory sucks.  So, divorced for 7 days… only 72 days shorter than I should have been (if the courts weren’t so backed up) and I guess if we’re talking “shoulds” then maybe 7 years shorter than I should have been?

Eh–who knows.  They say everything happens for a reason.  “They.”  The infamous “they.”  The next time someone asks me what famous person I’d like to have dinner with, “they” is going to be my answer.  Everyone knows “them” but I’m pretty sure no one has met “them.”

Today’s blog post was going to be a “what is sexy” list, but I’m all distracted by my marital status and other weird things that happened today…  Like on the way home from school with Spiderman I looked in the rearview mirror to see his entire right hand, arm, and side of his face smeared with blood.  Apparently he had a bloody nose…  the minute or two it took me to figure that out was a strange minute or two in my head.

So, I’m divorced… and other people are very excited about it.  It feels neutral to me.  I’ve been emotionally divorced for over a year now… maybe a few years if you don’t count the last attempt at reunion.  I didn’t cry (some people do).  I didn’t feel tremendous relief (although there was a little).  I just felt…  divorced.  Is that a feeling?

I’ve been wondering lately… how long do you have to be divorced before you can just mark “single” on forms again.  I mean, does it really matter on a medical history form or application for a library card whether I was ever married…  doesn’t it just matter (if even that) that I’m not married now?  Why is divorced a status?  Married… or not married… those should be the distinctions.

I sometimes still eat Chick-fil-A.  It’s delicious… and shameful
Most of the shame comes from being a(n almost) vegetarian
eating a chicken sandwich.  A delicious chicken sandwich.

Speaking of marriage.  This whole same-sex-marriage civil rights issue that’s consuming the hearts and minds of many…  I haven’t paid much attention to it at all really.  I know it’s selfish of me, but not only am I not very fond of marriage and the idea that it’s a government governed status… I also think that the community of folks (my community now, it seems) who are being discriminated against by being denied the right to marry are being harmed in much more serious ways.  Yes–it is stupid and awful and evil and wrong to deny the right to marry to consensual, same/similarly gendered adults…  but should all of our money, time, and attention be going to that cause when people are being beaten, killed, shamed into taking their own lives for being gay?  I don’t think so… but what do I know?  I’ve only been doing this for a few years (in my head), a year (in my heart), and a few months (in real life).

Anyway, it occurred to me for the first time today that I couldn’t just run off to the courthouse and marry the person I’m in love with (and not just because we haven’t discussed it and it’s kind of a two person thing…) because she has the same genitals as me.  Yup–it feels wrong.  Maybe not the wrongest thing that ever happened… but wrong.

So, what do we do?  Is legalizing same sex marriage a strategy to pave a road of healing and acceptance, or is walking a path of healing and acceptance what will allow people equal rights?  The US of A has a black president, and that hasn’t made us any less racist… just sayin’

Ah, the rants of a newly divorced woman.

wrapping up: chosen family

As has been too often the result over the past several months… that (last “month”) didn’t go as planned.  In the name of transparency… I have about a half dozen, half finished “love notes” written and a list of a few dozen names to do.  I posted one to the blog… I took more than a week off from writing in total.   I whined a lot.  I felt lost and discontented and frustrated a lot.

I’m torn between recognizing that plans are bullshit and letting it go and attempting to be more committed.  The truth is, the way this blog has been going has been working for me.  I enjoy writing the posts… it contributes to my mental health and personal growth… in general, it’s a win.  I do feel a bit off course from the intent of the FULLfillment project, but like I mentioned a while ago I think that’s because I managed to change my life into one I wanted to be living much faster than anticipated.  There’s still progress to be made (when won’t there be?  never, is the answer to that rhetorical question), in fact, the life I want to be living is revealing every day that I can have more if I am willing to take more steps out into the unknown, take more risks, and actually believe in my own worth on an even bigger level… but I’m not sure that I need to be so intently focused on an individual potential fulfillment as I did when this year started.

That being said… next “month” starts tomorrow and scares the shit out of me.

I added “get sexy” to the list because sexiness is something that eluded me for much of my life:

  • I looked like I was 8 when I was 3–not sexy.  
  • I have always been at least a head taller than my peers–not sexy.  
  • My feet are so big that I could only wear buster brown shoes for the first several years of life–not sexy.  
  • I have thick, frizzy, sometimes curly/wavy hair and the products to manage it didn’t really exist until the late 90s–not sexy.  
  • My skin is prone to stretch marks and years of growth spurt, weight fluctuation, and eventually child rearing have made their mark–not sexy.  
  • Apparently I believe that there is something wrong with the way I look and that the way I look is the determinant of what is sexy–sooooo not sexy
oh, and let’s not forget…
  • I was sleeping with a gender I find completely unappealing for 16 years before I figured out what was going wrong–totally not sexy.
The thing is…  Again, I’ve been working on this for 11 months now and I actually love myself in a way that includes loving my body.  I have some wounds leftover from being the “jolly green giant/bride of frankenstein” in elementary school, “thunder thighs in high school, and from being moooo’ed at in college… but the image in my head of what I look like and the image that is reflected back at me in the mirror are the same and I’m not shocked or alarmed like I used to be.
That, and… I know that sexiness has little to nothing to do with what I look like (even though I’m gorgeous, thank goodness…) AND I get to learn more about that every day by being in mutual love with someone who communicates very clearly that my mind, body, and spirit are sexy to her.  As we were (…and continue to be) discovering each other I was finding that things about me that I had disregarded as quirks or annoyances or things that are just ways I think or speak or act are things that drew her to me.  I won’t go on about this too much (although I could for.e.ver.), but becoming myself and then being loved completely for being that person (and understanding that sexiness has a much broader definition than I ever realized) has definitely taken my comfort level with sexiness up a few notches.  That… and having amazingly mind blowing sex for the first time in my life… that helps too.
So, why the terror?  Well, because I’m going to make myself take a dance class this month.  Just one day.  One time.  That’s the challenge…  but that’s challenge enough.  I get an almost weekly Facebook invitation from a woman who I met and hung out with for a weekend at a friend’s bachelorette celebration a couple years ago to a Burlesque Dance Class that she teaches… and a few months ago I thought about blocking invitations from her because I was tired of seeing it and that’s when I realized what I was going to do to “get sexy” this month: I’m going to take the class.
That’s it… that’s the intention.  That and keep on doing what I have been doing.  I don’t think you all (or I) are ready for this to be a frank discussion about queer sex… although I am tempted… we’ll see what leaks out as the month goes on.

Avoiding Difficulty

I had a coaching call a few weeks ago with a woman who is a part of an online community I was recently welcomed to who was offering her time and support in service…  and although I’ve known this for quite some time I came to something through the course of this call that has been shaping my entire life until this point (hopefully, just until this point).

Remember the list of all the things I wanted to do when I grew up?  And remember how I wrote about having too many choices can be paralyzing (it was Wednesday you can go back one post and find it)?  An additional factor, I probably didn’t share here yet because I don’t particularly like blaming other folks for my own stuff, in not getting anywhere on this list is because I was dedicated to a marriage that didn’t make space for me to grow or develop into anything that would reduce my availability or consume my emotional energy.

Thing is… none of those reasons are the reasons why I haven’t become any of the things on the list (or maybe they are… but I’ve got a new reason and I think it’s a doozy).  Rather… it’s that I’m avoiding doing things that are difficult.  It’s a very compassionate and self loving choice, actually.  I’m trying to spare myself heartache and exhaustion, tiredness and the feeling of being overwhelmed, disappointment and rejection, you know… all the typical bad things that happen when you pursue growth (wtf?!  isn’t it interesting to find out what you really think by reading what you just wrote/hearing what you just said?).

So yeah, I don’t do things because I think they’re going to be difficult.  It’s why I didn’t stand up to BFO and hold him accountable to his responsibilities the first year after our separation.  It’s why I haven’t gone back to school/started grad school.  It’s why I didn’t take the extra year in undergrad to get the BFA in graphic design.  It’s why I didn’t move out of state for college.  It’s why I didn’t go backpacking through Europe.  It’s why it took me 4 years to get out of a marriage that hadn’t been working for me since before it started.  It’s why I haven’t run a marathon or climbed a mountain.  It’s why I don’t own my own business.  It’s why I didn’t pull my kid out of his current school as soon as I realized it was a bad match for him…

I don’t do things that I perceive to be difficult because I think I am actually sparing myself some pain.  Turns out… life without the potential rewards that come from facing difficulty: still really fucking difficult.  I still experience heartache, exhaustion, tiredness, the feeling of being overwhelmed, disappointment, and rejection.  AND… I don’t get to counterbalance them with the potential joy that comes from taking a risk and experiencing a positive result… or at the very least… learning from it.

I’m going to go as far as to day that by avoiding difficulty… I am actually making my life MORE difficult.  Because I can’t think of anything more difficult (although I’m sure the universe will perceive this as an invitation to show me!) than sitting idly by watching the potential for joy drift out of reach and feeling helpless to do anything about it.

No more!

Bring on the difficulty!  (and PLEASE bring on the joy that corresponds with it too!)

possibility paralysis

This past weekend Devon and I were eating our dinner of roasted cruciferous vegetables (we’ve entered that stage in our relationship where farting is allowed–I’m going to go so far as to say encouraged really–so this was a safe dinner choice despite the predictably gassy results) and we found a tiny sticker on the table leftover from Spiderman wrapping presents for his friends (we wrap presents in this house in inside out Trader Joe’s bags with custom sticker decorations.  It’s one of those things I do that make us look unique and creative, but really I just hate spending money on gift wrap.  That, my friends, is how hipsters are born).  The fish was smiling a big, open-mouthed smile revealing a red tongue.

Who knew that the next comment was going to change my life forever (just kidding.  it didn’t really… a least not yet)?
Devon says, “fish don’t have tongues” and I am aghast… mouth agape.  I can’t say much, and I’m not sure if I’m breathing.  The pause button on life has been pressed.  A scene commences where I remain in shocked silence and repeatedly shift my gaze from the fish tank across the room, to the sticker, and back to my beloved’s face.  God only knows why this is such a big deal to me in the moment.  I mean, it ends up being a really funny and playful scene, and who doesn’t want to be living in one of those… but why was it so enchanting in the first place?
We consult “the Goog” for more information and confirm that fish do not have tongues.  Some carniverous fish have tongue like bony protrusions at the bottoms of their mouths… but no… fish do not have tongues.
I am transported from shock to devastation (please tell me you know I’m exagerating here. Lately a lot of my jokes haven’t gone over very well because people didn’t know I was kidding.  Talk about devastation).  I spend the next several days (yes, days) finding myself preoccupied with this new reality more than makes any sense for a productive adult to be.  I lay near the fish tank, gazing in, hoping to get a glimpse of “Willy’s”  my one-eyed, 3-pound, poop-machine (aka goldfish) tongue.  I think I see it more than once.  Devon does not see it.
It’s Tuesday now (when I’m writing this) and somehow I’m still thinking about it.  Not actively, but when I clicked on a link promising outrageously awesome photos from my sickbed this afternoon I was immediately jubilant to find this picture of a fish with a tongue.  It’s probably photoshopped… but who cares, it’s a fish with a tongue!
I email the photo to Devon with a comment about not knowing why this is proving to be so important to me…  must be a metaphor for something else in my life I suggest.  Then I go pee.  And because that’s where all the good stuff happens… then I come here.
Why?  And why am I so insistent that there are fish with tongues even though the universal knowledge delivery service (aka google) has informed me that there are not?

Possibility.

Possibility is beautiful.  Possiblity is intoxicating.  Possibility is my drug… and just like any other drug, it get me high and it causes me harm.
When I daydream about all that I want and can have in this life I can paint beautiful pictures in my mind where I exist peacefully and contentedly, full of love and lightness.  I can make a list a mile long of the things I want to do with my life and be sincere about my desire for each and every one.  That’s the drug, that’s what I crave and repeat over and over…
But do I do anything on the mile long lists?  no.
Why not?  because possibility is also paralyzing.

As you know, Spiderman has been having some trouble getting adjusted to Kindergarten and the number of possible solutions was driving me completely batty for a good long while here.  Leave him at this school and help him make it better.  Move him to another public school.  Try a private school.  Put him back into preschool.  Quit my job, live in a tent, and homeschool…  all options.

With too many options on the table I tend to do nothing for a good, long while.

If the reality was a picture in my head (which it usually is), it looks like this: I find myself standing across from a row of options, it’s almost like a reverse firing squad.  They are straight and tall and emotionless, they’re all uniformed and they look the same.  And we’re definitely standing inside of some kind of fort with a dirt ground and arches embedded in adobe walls.  It’s all of them on one side, and just me on the other… and I’m not tied to any post, and they’re all completely available for the plucking, and all I can see in this row in front of me is that I don’t know which one is “right.”  And apparently the fear of being “wrong” is so great, I don’t do anything.

I found a school that I would love to send Spiderman to a few weeks ago.  It’s a small private school and it’s expensive.  I’m in the midst of applying for admission and financial aid… taking the steps between possibility and reality.  I became singularly focused on this as a solution and although there was still a lot of unknown and scary and potentially difficult about it, I felt confident about my pursuit.  Yesterday I got a call that a local charter school had an opening for him–he also had a great day at his current school and I was rocketed from my confident pursuit back to window shopping in possibility again and I was shocked by how intense and instant the terror was.

I was never a fan of BFO’s problem solving style.  He tends to be able to identify 1 or 2 solutions to a problem and then also identify why both of those solutions won’t work, rendering himself helpless and the problem unsolvable… It’s a very efficient route to the same destination of paralysis.  I can usually think of hundreds of solutions to a given problem… and I’ve been pretty proud of myself for that ability… but because there are so many, and I don’t know which one is “right” I am rendered helpless and the problem unsolvable.  Hmmmm… that seems familiar…*stepping off high horse now*

Barry Schwartz has written (and talked) about the paradox of choice, particularly for us as consumers…

Whether his facts or figures are compelling enough to support his argument, or you are inspired to consider him credible based on his choice of attire…  I’m going to go with my lived experience as proof enough (by the way, I don’t agree with him that the key to happiness is low expectations… no expectations perhaps, but low… no).  When possibility becomes too much choice… and too many choices lead to anxiety and paralysis… it’s time to do something different.  It’s time to simplify.

I don’t know about you, but I hear about “simple living” all of the time and I’m not sure anyone knows what that means.  I mean, it means having less “stuff” which definitely has its advantages… but what else?  For me, it means it’s time to know what I want before I seek out the options…  to be confident in my preferences, priorities, and values…  to go with my instincts and trust them.  To rule something out because it feels wrong and to consider something because it feels right.

If I’m going to see possibility as a gift instead of a source of pain, I have to know what I want and need… and I have to remember that there is no such thing as a universal “right” or “wrong” and instead know what is right and wrong for me.

I have a hunch that living simply also includes following through on commitments, like this project (the blog) and it’s monthly themes… and I’ve been really good at allowing possibility to take me off track and haven’t been experiencing the results I want.  So, let’s change that shall we?

And if I need to believe that fish have tongues to feel safe… then I can.  Goodness knows, people believe stranger things with full societal acceptance.