Saturday, December 19, 2009

So, Um, I'm Almost Afraid To Admit It...

...but I think I may have Fallen. Again. Admittedly, I fall easy; it doesn't take a whole lot. Really somebody just needs to be genuinely nice to me and there I go...

the difference is this time it seems to be mutual. I was thinking about it this afternoon, on my way back to the Rock from his house where I stayed over. The last time I felt this comfortably warm about anyone was in Las Vegas. And that gave me a terrible fear, but I realized that at three months into that Thing I was already plunged into the depths of hell, whereas here, it's been four and I'm only just now feeling the comfort... and it's been a pretty steady four months.

What made me Fall in the weeks preceding Black August was a feeling of being cared for, of being looked after. But BigMan has supplanted that memory with the real thing; when I'm over there it gets to be hard to leave cuz someone making you breakfast or feeding your drunk ass burgers, or getting up in the middle of the night to get you water and Excedrin...that stuff hardly ever happens to me. Granted when he's here it's the reverse... in my own environment I'm so used to doing everything that I just naturally do everything. But over there, at his place.... it's different. Yeah, I know it all changes once folk get used to each other. But it's nice to have that, even for a little while.

The other thing that makes it easy is he rolls with my "isms". Not to say they don't piss him off but where my "isms" would send the ParentingPartner into a frenzy, BigMan will give me shit but he gets over it. Last night I'd asked him to meet me at a club where my HS Peeps were gathering... I really wanted him to experience them. He first had to take BestGirl to her therapy appointment as he usually does so I tried to time my arrival with his. Well, I was late. I got into playing with the new printer Poppy bought me, and then realized I HAD to go to the Post Office before I left the Rock and that threw off my timing. Plus... I couldn't find anything that fit my fat ass, but that's another story.( I've gained back whatever weight I'd lost... but I'm not as heavy as I thought I was; I weighed myself at the docs Wednesday. But I'm still heavier than I've been in a while and it's pissing me off.)

But anyhow...

I got there after him and he was TICKED. And he didn't hide it. Since he had a right to be annoyed I didn't get ticked at him in return. But we ended up having a great time together, and he didn't crowd me when I talked to my friends and he danced with me. I got twisted off of "Well" vodka over ice and he led me home and made me burgers...

This morning, I kept trying to get it together to go. I wanted to get home and claim my Sun back from his father, since Sun has to go back over there Sunday night as my surgery is at the crack of dawn Monday morning. But it was hard... and BigMan was joking something about "Well if you put a ring on my finger..." Not sure what he meant but I said seriously that if he wanted rings he was going to have to get them. This time I'm not orchestrating anything, cuz when I do it turns to shit. He said it wouldn't... I said I wasn't taking any chances.

However this go-round I don't feel much like running... there's not the same fears or tinglies... not the same type of distress. But I think it's because he puts in as much effort as I ever have and that makes it all feel very different.


Shit can happen and change everything in the blink of an eye. But at the moment I'm reluctantly and cautiously optimistic....

Friday, December 18, 2009

Why I Ramble On...

When I started this blog in 2007, at first it just started as a way to tell stories, then a way to explore my past, then a way to explore my crazy and shut the Voices down... now it's kind of an old friend. People still read... not as much as at my peak, but it's OK. I looked at my stats when I logged in just now and I've got over 740 posts here, and have been writing pretty consistently for almost 3 years. That's pretty friggin' cool, if I do say so myself. Most folks who started with me or because of me or even who were there before me have long since fell off. I think the longest I've ever gone without writing anything is maybe 3 weeks. And I managed that one month to write every day.

What I like about writing here, as opposed to writing in a diary that no one ever sees is that anyone who cares to know anything about me can find out all about me here, get the "backstory" so to speak. It saves a lot of time. Even if I'd started out pretending to someone, or even if I was pretending here that I had it all together, anyone really reading this would soon figure out um, NOT. There's good and bad to being this exposed... and I've learned through trial and error not to direct just any old person over here. Some folk plain take advantage. I only told BigMan I even WROTE a blog last week. And I still haven't invited him to read it. Don't know that he's found it--he may have but he's not quite as stalker-ish as I am.

And I don't really care if he did... I don't think he'd really find anything here I haven't already told him about--even about the Scrub. The only thing BigMan may have issue with is my ambiguity about him, especially in the beginning. But honey, in case you do read this... I'm pretty much settled on you now. There was that period of the "White Tails Flashing" but lately I don't feel much like running. No doubt there's times you really annoy the crap out of me but I can tell by the way your nostrils flare that I get under your skin, too. Like the other night when I was WAY late for that cocktail thing. You were pretty ticked. And I was sorry... and it really wasn't my fault cuz I don't know the evening bus schedule off The Rock and miscalculated. Plus, I HAD to burn that CD or I would have HAD to come home. See, at least I was able to go home with you. But I'll try to be better... I like you enough to try.

Another reason I like writing here instead of other places is... I am held accountable. I have to be consistent with myself. If I decide that I'm going to change perspectives or rethink something or re-form an opinion, I have to first come back here, find what I wrote, and try to figure out why my opinion or perspective has changed.

If I write about loyalty or honesty or my feelings about a person or a subject, I can't very well slide on myself... It's here in black and white for all the world to see--and for me too. I use this blog to call myself on shit. But I like that, like being able to call myself out. I think that in the past few years I have grown an awful lot although my life is still in flux, but I'm pretty consistently who I am.

At least I think I am. I'd certainly like to think so. But I can go check back to day one and see...

This week I've been trying to knock stuff out, clear the decks. I'm having foot surgery Monday morning. I have a nasty old bunion on my left toe, which really escalated it's development in the past few years. I really don't think it's the shoes I wear... I have LONG since given up stilettos. The Podiatrist I found (a board-certified one in the City) said that bunions are really hereditary and caused by several things; one leg being longer than the other and so the longer leg compensates and throws off your balance, or maybe your toes don't have all the bones they're supposed to, like my two baby toes. Each toe has three bones in in... my baby toes only have two. How's that for weird?

The foot started to hurt--it SUCKS when I wear shoes--so I decided while I have no job and have medicaid, let me go take care of it (and I say again... low budget healthcare SUCKS ASS). Get my sexy foot back. There's not a whole lot of body parts of mine that I like... my boobs used to be way bigger than the rest of me causing me much grief; I never liked my ass cuz it was low, I have a long torso/short legs, a big face, even bigger head. But I always liked my feet. Wasn't crazy about the big bump growing there, and even less crazy about the fact that it actually hurt. Pain is annoying; it gets in the way. So... I'm getting it fixed. that was spaghetti-like, even for me...

Back to the original topic.

When major shit happens to me, I ruminate over it a loooooong time. So the Big Burn is now over a week old, going on two, and I'm still mulling the whole thing over. And there are moments I still rage inside. But mostly it's kind of a dull burn, like two-day old sunburn. Sometimes I get a little annoyed with myself that I even still care, but then on the other hand, caring about shit is what makes me me. Cuz I think about how I feel, then, WHY I feel the way I do about specific things, what I DON'T care about in the situation, try to accept the parts that are acceptable, decide what I'm going to do about the parts that aren't. Then I look at the things in my life--the backstory--that make me the person I am, and analyze whether or not the "backstory" has an influence over how I'm feeling. Then I try to figure out, well, if I had grown up ANOTHER way or in other circumstances, would I still feel what I feel now? Are my circumstances particular or general? And if I were someone else, would I feel the same way?

Really. I really DO think all that stuff.

It's like following a tree branch... I analyze and explore every great branch down to the smaller branches right out to the twig on the branch tip, look at the leaves... are they different from other leaves? I used to get lost in all that thinking, but through time I've learned how to pull myself back to examine the main trunk of the issue. Then, I may even go exploring the roots... but I've learned to bring it back to the tap root.

And after I've done all that thinking, then I can finally let whatever it is go... compile the data and file it under "ABC" in my brain, linking categories. So if the situation/question/problem/whatever comes up again, either with me or someone else, I compare what's going on with everything I've already stored in my head.

It's very exhausting.

But way useful.

I make a point of noticing details... gestures, facial expressions, language ticks. I go on gut feelings. I've learned not to dismiss anything anymore. The one thing you failed to pick up on is guaranteed to be the ONE thing that smacks you in the ass.

The problem is though, the older I get the more I think I'm running out of scratch disk space on the old hard drive... but what to let go/erase/delete???

Yet another reason I like writing on the blog. I don't have to remember quite as much. And it's easily searchable. Ever try going through an old diary?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Once Upon A Time

my ex-best-friend and I were thicker than thieves... like Fric and Frac. We did everything together, went everywhere. She was definitely the more dominant one in the relationship which was fine by me at the time. She had a pretty big ego, which was OK cuz she had reason to be; 6 ft and blue-eyed, blonde (dyed but it suited her) and sang her ass off. She was secretly involved with a married man, but around the time we started hanging out, he left his wife and moved in with her.

I was recovering from a major break-up with JerseyBoy. My heart was a mess... as a matter of fact it was the beginning of the Great Unraveling of what had been a pretty structured life up till that point. With EBF I was content to follow her around and play second fiddle cuz it was easy. But I loved her, actually, and we had great times.

The boyfriend turned out to be psycho, and I had just gotten involved with who would later become known as BD/LP/IFKALP/SD/Parenting Partner. She spotted the crazy in him because he had the same traits as her crazy Ex, but I was already too far invested in the relationship to cut him loose like she said I should.

She finally managed to cut the psycho loose one July 4th, and in celebration she and I took off for Rye Playland, one of my favorite places on the planet. We both loved riding the Dragon Coaster at night. As we stood on line, she turned to me and said "You're the best friend I've ever had, and I love you, and I bet we'll be best friends when we're old and crotchety. I don't ever see us not being this close." We got on the Dragon Coaster and watched the fireworks that Rye sets off on Friday nights.

I'll never forget her saying that or that moment... I wanted to remember it in case what she said came to pass. Because I knew the odds of it happening were actually pretty slim. I'd already had a BestFriend I didn't speak to anymore.

About a year later I suspected I was pregnant and before I was even certain, I told her. I told her everything first. We went looking for a pregnancy test but it was late and we couldn't find a store that had them... we drove down to the A&P on Bruckner Blvd and were amazed they didn't have any. Despite the fact that we already knew BD was crazy and I dreaded telling him about the pregnancy, the prospect of a baby was a little exciting, and she told me that if I was, and if I decided to keep the baby she'd be there every step of the way.

It turned out I was, and that I was right about BD. All hell broke loose, and he made my life miserable. And through it all, EBF held steady, sharing my cravings, riding my moods. If I felt weird or uncomfortable I'd get a call from her complaining "This pregnancy thing is really uncomfortable!" Or I'd get a call early on Sunday morning: "I'm craving hashbrowns... is that your craving, or mine?" and usually it was mine and we'd laugh that she could feel absolutely everything.

In my gut though, I could feel her not wanting this baby as much as I had decided I did. When it came time to choosing a Lamaze/birthing partner, I couldn't see her in there with me, so I chose another friend, BeautifulHair, to go with me. My reasoning to EBF was that BeautifulHair already had a baby and so she'd know what to do and what to fight for, and also, EBF worked a lot of nights singing so if she was out on a gig when it was "That Time", she wouldn't have to cut it short. But I expected her to join me and BeautifulHair as soon as she could.

Towards the end of my pregnancy, EBF finally met TheGuy she'd later marry, and started spending a lot of time with him. I didn't mind so much... by this point I was fat and slow and got out of breath easily, and the nesting instinct had kicked in. And I could feel her pulling away...

but it wasn't until after the Sun made his debut that I realized we were done. I was dropped. And it was then that I needed her most. The excitement was over and people went home, all the cute little baby clothes were washed and put away, BD had gone home to his mother's basement, the Professor had her own family to take care of, Poppy had just been operated on for bladder cancer and there I was alone, with a tiny, squawling baby and a baleful-eyed cat. I needed her. I had other friends, ShoeFly and the CrazyWoman, both of whom already had kids, but EBF had been my girl and I needed her. But she was "busy" she told me when I confronted her, spending all her time with TheGuy she would later marry and she was sorry, but she just didn't have time. I was crushed. On top of the very mild PPD, and the newness of life as a single parent, I just cried.

It was then that I realized that true girlfriends are hard to come by, and it's easy to fall in love with a new friend and think she'll be "the one". And much like an intense but brief love affair, you experience all the same intensities, the excitement... and when it doesn't work out you have all the same sadness. People grow apart in any relationship, and it doesn't hurt any less whether it's a boy or a girl. But if you're hetero, it's all the more difficult to break up with a friend because it can be very confusing.

I read an article a few years later about what happens when you break up with a friend, and it was the first time the pain I felt over EBF was validated. And it's kinda funny, because there are women, just like there are men, who are "serial monogamists", or in the case of a best friend "serial BFFs". They stick around and the friendship is intense, and then one day they find a new friend and drop you like a hot potato. And it sucks ass, just like it would when it's a guy. A little bit after EBF and I "broke up", I ran into one of her EBF in the supermarket. She asked me how EBF was, and I told her I didn't really see her anymore. She looked at me sadly, this woman, and said "I'm sorry. That's how she is... intense and your best friend and then 'poof'! one day she's gone... has a new best friend. She did it to me, too."

With time,you figure out who the real girlfriends are... the ones who are always steady, the ones who always call, the ones who give you shit--and even if it pisses you off you take it cuz you trust where it's coming from, the one you count on to pick up your kid in a pinch or feed him or keep him for you when you forget your head and go off on some drunken spree. The ones you know are family. And like good men... they may not be the most exciting and you may not giggle girlishly over stuff, but when push comes to shove you know, beyond of a shadow of a doubt, that they have your back...

You miss the EBFs, if you're brave enough or crazy enough like me, you cry over them. It hurts...sometimes for years and makes you highly mistrustful of "girlfriends". But in the end the steady women you do have in your life more than make up for the EBFs, and you look up 15 or 20 years later and they're still there... calling you, giving you shit, feeding your kid in a pinch... still family.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Lucky For The World

...that I'm a profoundly lazy bitch.

It's almost a week since the BigBurn, and my emotions have settled from a raging fire to hot coals. The more I mull shit over in my head, the more focused I've become on exactly where I hurt, and exactly where I'm pissed the fuck off. Scabs are a wonderful thing and I've a thick crusty one going; underneath it's painful, but I can deal. It's not oozing and weeping, and I don't pick at scabs... it's not worth it. But the cut is deep. It's going to take a while.

The rage... again it's a good thing I'm lazy cuz I'm a plotting kind of bitch. In my younger days I was great at avenging wrongs with elaborate undetectable plots, but I have way too much shit going on in my life for that sort of thing these days, so while thoughts occur to me and they do amuse me... eh. Who has time? Besides: "Always Take The High Road" is another mantra that I repeat regularly to myself. For good reason. Revenge may be sweet but it can be an awful lot of work.

The coals are hot, red and glowing, largely cuz I still suspect there's more to the story and folk aren't ENTIRELY forthcoming. It annoys me when folk think I don't know shit but on the other hand it's kind of useful to play dumb. And while it sort of matters to me on principal, it's not enough to do anything about.

Every so often the coals flash a flame and it takes my breath away but from experience I know these die down after awhile. The larger issue in the Burn Story was really never about me, anyhow, and I get it... but where it intersected with my life kinda fucks me up. Yeah, there's stuff there that really gets to me. Shit that makes me wonder. But I've been through worse. I think the thing that makes me saddest is that my gates are up again. They won't be coming down for a while. Fuck y'all. You won't get me again.

On the brighter side though, I think I got a good deal in the BigMan. It's been what, four months? And for the four month mark it's going pretty good. The only thing I wonder about really is... how long will THIS last? How long before there's foulness? Or a waning? He keeps saying he's in it for the long haul. But, talk is cheap.

Though there is something in the way he holds me that thinks he may be telling the truth. And it's not that he "yes"'s me to death or always takes my side, and I know I annoy him from time to time already. The one or two things about this relationship that bothered me initially, well, one of them is manageable/quite OK. The other is money. He just doesn't have any. And that's not good for either of us.

On the other hand, loyalty and honesty can't be bought...

It occurred to me the other night, how fickle life can be. How I met him on a fly by. How I almost didn't accept any of his invitations to get together. If the Scrub had been available that August evening, BigMan and I might not have ever been. Except he tells me it was fated, we would have met at some point because we are meant to be. And that makes me smile.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Well, I Tell You What thing I'm sure of, after almost 45 years on this earth, is if it smells like bullshit, it IS bullshit. You can dress it up or down, serve it hot on a plate, cold in a salad, garnish it with flowers or throw it at somebody or call it fertilizer, but it'll still be bullshit. And since I'm a pretty good bullshitter, with a sister who possess an MSW, it's even easier for me to spot it when I see it.

When the Professor graduated, and got her first job in the field, I told her that if she ever got jaded I was gonna tell her about herself. That I wanted for her to always believe in the best of people. A few years later I got into an argument with her cuz she said people really only come in a few basic categories, and it pretty much has to do with what the hell was done to them as children.

I struggle with that sometimes, cuz I like remaining hopeful about people even though I'm pretty certain that 98% of them are full of shit (including myself... don't think I single myself out cuz I don't). And I'm no MSW but the older I get, the more I think she has a point.

Cuz the thing is, the world is full of shades of grey. I KNOW the world is full of grey. It's one big happy fucking grey area, with a whole bunch of fuckers playing both ends by the middle. I fancied myself a master painter in shades of grey, till I got to Family Court. That's when I observed a bunch of people all playing in the grey, with a bunch of other people specifically trained in the art of black and white.

Mr. W was the Sun's Guardian Ad Litem for most of that 6 Year War, and he had (I'm pretty sure of it) sort of a thing for me, which was kind of icky. But it was also pretty useful, cuz he'd spend a lot of time talking to me in his office. A GAL is supposed to remain absolutely neutral and not appear to have favor on either side; it's the job of the GAL to only have the best interest of the child. So he couldn't come right out and tell me he had my back. But I began to listen to his stories about court with interest, cuz they all were all very much about the big messy grey areas in the relationships between people, and how very black-and-white court has to be, in order to cut through the bullshit. I began to see that basically, he was telling me how to be black-and-white. I learned a lot from Mr. W. I appreciated him. It made it easier to tolerate the creepy late-evening phone calls I'd get from him.

So Monday was a painful blur, Tuesday I thought I felt better but was so turned around I left my bag--with keys and ID (no money, thankfully, since I have none) at the kid's violin school, and I was so mad at myself for realizing that I was obviously more fucked up about everything than even I thought, that I dropped my phone as I was trying to dial someone.

The phone made a sad "pft" sound and went completely dead. So Wednesday I went with the flow, completely enveloping myself in a fuzzy grey cloud. It felt good, actually. The Sun had gone off to his school camping trip which meant I didn't have to deal with the Parenting Partner (talk about your big grey area) and since BigMan had thoroughly pissed me off by signing off IM rather abruptly (I don't like being hung up on or signed off on, for that matter) I refused to get in touch with him till he had realized the error of his ways.

I was very tired of being empathetic. Of looking at the other side. It's kind of amazing to me that people don't seem to think I do look at all the angles. I mean, it's kind of why I started this blog so I could ramble around my head. But by Wednesday I was pretty tired of seeing the angles, cuz what happens is, nobody's covering your angle. So I went downtown and sold some scrap gold I had laying around which garnered me enough money to pay off most of my Sprint bill, and then came back to '25 to pay off said bill, find some DVD+RWs to burn pictures to, enjoy a beef patty, and revel in not having anyone be able to find me. I did check in with Bigbear, though, just in case I got snatched or something. I got $280 from the scrap gold and could only spare $20 on myself to get my eyebrows done.

I had the Sun's phone with me, but no one has the number. Additionally, the little bugger has a lock on it, which I didn't remember till it went dead. Once I charged it, I couldn't get back in it to dial anybody. But since I'm on his important list, I could actually dial my own voicemail to see if anybody gave a shit.

Finally around 5:30P BigMan proved he did, leaving a very direct message for me to give him a call when I had a chance, so I called him back. I only needed for him to call me first. Since he was the one who cut me off.

So we talked. I had a chance to remind him about the Chihuahua, and he made some smart ass remark, but he also made me dinner. Then I went with him to watch him shoot some wanna-be pin-ups for a calendar.

He's a pretty good guy. He's honest, and funny, and above all loyal. He works in a very grey area... not-quite-porn-but-really-it-is, but he gets the need for black and white. And while I have, in the past, harbored some longing for the Scrub--my big grey area-- this week I'm effectively done. I told the Scrub once that I knew he was a snake when I picked him up, and BigMan may be some things but he's not a snake. I like that about him. It's refreshing. So I think I'll keep him for a little while; especially since he loves me.

As for the other crap...

Yeah I dunno. I resent feeling played. About the worst thing is a having an MSW for a sister. When she was in school she wasn't all that confident in her writing (which is crazy cuz she writes very well and always has) so I got to read all her very interesting papers for my writing input. The DSMV became one of my favorite books. Her case studies and the anger management and conflict-resolution seminars she ran taught me a hell of a lot about spotting bullshit and playing in the grey. On the one hand I'm happy I'm aware of it all; I don't think I would have won my 6 Year War quite as decisively without her. On the other hand it makes me SO sad when I can spot hot steaming bullshit coming my way. People really are predictable. They really do fit certain categories. The things a parent does to a child really do have long-lasting ramifications.

And I'm no saint. No perfect person. I struggle with the every day shit. My apartment reflects my inner mind, my inability to grab ahold of myself disturbs me. I make rules about shit and have been guilty of breaking them. I don't hold myself above anybody else.

I do often wonder if it's me or the rest of the world, and truthfully the only reason I'm willing to say it's me is because it's a proven fact that only the insane or the narcissist thinks it's "everyone else".

I do have narcissistic tendencies. I suspect that they are probably more "narcissistic" than "tendencies" and I never would have been aware of them if it hadn't been for the 6 Year War and the psychological testing and analyzing I had to go through during that war. But I DID go through that test, and I have the report. The ironic thing is that report was court property, and I wasn't supposed to see it. But I did... and I think about it a lot. One of the things the psychologist wrote about me was that I appeared to have higher expectations of my morality than was normal. I think about that a lot.

Some people are pretty damned certain what they would do or wouldn't do in a given situation. (I was one of them.) And then when they get into that situation, they do something completely different. (I've been there, too.) And maybe it's the wrong thing. The question is once they've experienced a given situation, and analyze what they did or didn't do... should that situation arise again, will they react differently the next time? Will they make the appropriate decision? Are they qualified to KNOW what's appropriate for others in the same situation? I'd like to think I've learned from some of the foul/not quite right/sorta grey things I've done, and I'm pretty damn certain given my experience that there are things I just won't do.

But are you supposed to play in the grey? What if everyone does, and no one's looking at it in black and white? Why have rules? What's the point? Why have laws? Are some things just plain wrong? Or do you look at everything in terms of grey?

Before the 6 Year War I could easily stay in the grey for over. For one thing, it's pretty fucking convenient. You can never be held to anything. There's always an "out". Till you end up in someplace like Family Court. Or have some foul shit done to you. Then you realize how every body playing in the grey is really very self-serving. Then you appreciate having an (hopefully) ethical, uncorrupted judge or GAL looking at things in black and white.

Lots of questions. And, at least according to the 98% of the world who's playing in the grey, there are no easy answers. But I'll be honest; I sort of think that's a cop out--that "no easy answer". The truth is the truth. For every action there is a reaction. There are consequences to the things you choose to do. It's what prompted my grandfather to write "Do right because it's right to do right" and I think about that a lot too. There's just some shit you have to decide not to do.

If you know that to do a thing will cause a person grief or pain, do you do it even it benefits you? If you knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt that if you pushed a red button, you'd get a million dollars but you'd kill someone you didn't know, would you push it? And how would it affect your decision if it was someone you knew?

Ethics. Are they a worthwhile pursuit?

Speaking of ethics, we toured Fieldston on Tuesday; the ParentingPartner, the Sun and myself. The school was founded on the principals of training ethical leaders. My grandfather, he of the "do right" persuasion, sent both of his children there. It's the only reason I'd even consider applying... because Poppy went there.

"The ideal of the school is to develop individuals who will be competent to change their environment to greater conformity with moral ideals."
Felix Adler, Philosopher, humanist, and founder of the Ethical Culture Fieldston School

I would love for the Sun to go there... but at (some huge sum of $$ I refuse to look at) it's unlikely he will unless they decide they like him enough to take him for free. (Boy the odds for the poor in this country sure are stacked against them, but that's an entirely different subject.) It's too bad too; the Sun LOVED it. All the wonderful things he could do or be...

On the other hand, will it ruin him? Will it instill in him the same ethical values it did in my father, who in turn cursed me with them? Will it cause my beautiful boy grief in the end?

Is it worth it to teach him how to be ethical? When the world is full of grey... he could be doomed to a life of pain.

On the other hand, he might end up a master of the grey....

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Familiar Empty

is settling in my gut. It's sort of noteworthy cuz I haven't felt it in a while.

What happened yesterday is still lingering, still stinging. There's a myth about the 5 Stages of Grief: it's widely cited but I remember reading somewhere that the person who is attributed to this said that it's not quite that simple. They don't happen in succession, rather they happen simultaneously. With some other stuff thrown in.

But the major emotions are easy to recognize, and I feel them now, not in succession but all at the same time. I struggle with believing... is it really true? Were there motives behind the discovery? Am I disloyal for even believing? And then rage: I could scream. I've learned that I need to give myself at least 24 hours before reacting to anger, but after 24 hours I realize I'm going need a hell of a lot more time than that. And so I bargain with myself that if I give myself some time, I might feel differently. That if I look at it from several angles perhaps I won't take it all so personally. Or maybe time will prove that I'm just plain wrong. Mostly I'm sad... like a loss, deep and profound. A loss of innocence. Another tear in the already flimsy fabric of Hope that I surround myself with, so as not to be beaten down by life.

But I'm not at all accepting. Not yet anyway. And I'm not sure that I ever will be.

When I was younger, I was much more judgmental of life and people than I am now. I think--I hope--that I'm even less judgmental today than I was even three years ago when I started this blog... writing and thinking have given me the space to analyze myself, rethink my positions on a lot of things. Allowed me to find the humanity, the kindness, the understanding. All this thinking led to the inclusion of the mantra (included in the post "Surviving the Dark Days"): you cannot control what other people do; you can only control your reaction to it.

Everyone has drama and issues and things that make them dysfunctional, and with my ability to feel mental distress I tend to be hyper-aware of those issues. Particularly the ones I refer to as "white-hot core" ones. The ones that flash out to burn you when you get too close to them.

With time and understanding of myself I realized that my rules of operation can really only be applied to me. I can only hold myself to my own moral standards... I have no control over what people do or how they choose to rationalize their actions. I cannot be the one to blame or judge. It's not my place. I can only state... and choose to stand by, the rules I've set for myself. And I've done my shit. I've done my dirt. I am far from perfect. I've even broken some of my own rules. But there are about two or three I can honestly and proudly say that I have never broken no matter how tempting, and so it hurts to feel that those same rules were not applied to me.

With sadness I realize that the small circle around me is even smaller than I thought. There are several reasons this is true, and I know that some of them I contribute to. For example, my impatience with people who don't take the time to deal with their core issues, especially the ones who make the same mistakes over and over. Or the rage I feel when I think someone I care about is being hurt or taken advantage of--while not intended to be directed at the person I care about, very often comes across that way. I get frustrated very quickly when I can clearly see another, more productive path for someone I love than the path they are on and they themselves can't see it. Or worse, are too mistrustful of themselves to close their eyes and take that leap of faith. So lately I've had some harsh words with CNC because she has some of those repetitive issues that make me bonkers, and also I thought she was being ripped off by someone. When I told her this, in my usual intense way, she accused me of being negative.

The BigMan's words resonate in the quiet: "It's not WHAT you are saying, it's the WAY you say it." And he called me "relentless".

But after what happened yesterday I felt compelled to call my friend up, and try to make her understand, as nicely and patiently as I am capable of how much I care about her, how much more I see for her, and how badly it bothered me that I thought she was being ripped off. One of the things I love about her is that it seems we apply the same rules to ourselves, and because of that she trusts me. That trust enables her to let my raging run off of her. But she's also strong enough and brave enough to let me know I hurt her.

And I can tell her I'm sorry, and I mean it. Turns out she had also spoken to the Professor who had the same feelings about the rip-off as I did, and so she canceled the transaction. And secondly I made her promise that she would look into going to college. My friend is going through life on a 5th grade education. She never went to middle school. Or High School. Let alone college. I told her that I thought that she was brilliant, and kind, and able to handle school, to take it one small step at a time, and I'd be there for her. So I hope she'll do it.

In my heart, I counted the folk that time has shown me I can trust, who accept me for me, who don't take my ragings or crazies or Voices personally, or as an excuse to do things because they think I can handle it. Or maybe they think I deserve it. Or maybe they never really gave that much of a fuck about me in the first place, choosing to fulfill themselves regardless of the cost to anyone. Even if I happen to be in the way. Just when I had gotten used to and happy with the idea of a larger world, my world is suddenly very small again, and my heart is broken.

But I've been through worse. I've been through the Black and the Dark, and it never ever hurts as bad the next time as it did the first because for one thing, you learn to cover the holes up quicker. You can see when the bleeding begins that you'll need to act more quickly before the trickle turns to full-on hemorrhage.

The worst thing I do to myself in times like this is second guess myself. Or over think. Accuse myself of being melodramatic. And sometimes I allow my empathy and understanding to get in the way of my own self-preservation... it's why I stayed in that awful relationship with the ParentingPartner for so long. I hadn't spoken to anyone about what happened. I can't, for several reasons. But because my UpstairsNeighbor is close to my heart, I went upstairs and unloaded. The first time I gave spoken words to my pain and ugh, it hurt just as much letting it out as it did keeping it in. I asked her if she thought I was over reacting. She said no. She would have felt the same way and that made feel slightly better, but not a whole lot. Because the hole is still there...

Day two, and it still hurts. But I'll survive... though it's compounded by the BigMan making no effort to understand the Beast. To use kindness. And I've no patience and no desire to be understanding. He's bearing the brunt... I'm tired of understanding and being empathetic.

I'm tired. And worse I still wonder if I'm wrong...

The Greatest Thing....'ll ever learn
is just to love

and be loved
in return....

-"Nature Boy" written by Eden Ahbez

The Big L word had come up in conversation a few times, with the BigMan joking that I should just go ahead and say it. I told him he'd need to say it first; I was done being the first.

We went back and forth jokingly a few times, and then last week he asked me again. In my heart, I knew I couldn't, wouldn't say it first... and I asked him please.

And he said he loved me.

And I said I loved him...

..and it's been a slow decline ever since.

I realized, at that moment... the moment he said those words, how ridiculously long it's been since anyone--a man, I mean--has said those words to me. Like years. How important it was that I hear them, feel them, before I gave them back.

In that moment I realized I've been taking the easy way out. Saying "I love you" really is easy. And it gets easier with practice. It's also really easy to love when someone doesn't love you back, there's a rhythm to it. A strength in being the one able to love. But it gets hard when someone loves you back... you realize there is a responsibility in being loved. You hold that person's heart in your hand. Though people seem to forget that.

At the same time, unrelated stories began exploding all around me, from unexpected yet very close places. And it made me start to doubt the whole love-thing again, made me wonder if maybe I spoke to soon. It never seems to work out anyway. Rarely it does. Everyone wants whatever it is they don't have, and fuck up what they DO have.

Today in particular really sucked ass. Some things thrown at me out of left field that I will never discuss, but at the same time I realized that the Beast inside had been picking up strange shit for awhile. And I had been packing it down, not paying attention, thinking maybe I was being girly about shit. And the one thing I HAD been paying attention to, I was completely off base about where it was coming from. I can at least pride myself on saying I noticed something. But my own inner hope and backstory made me think it was coming from one place when really it was coming from quite another.

Rocked. Took my breath away, really, and I know it shouldn't have. I should have long been done crying. I had told myself I was healed, I was OK. Had put it all in a place where I was OK. But I'll never be OK, though I will learn how to cover it, hide it, walk with it. But underneath it's taking a lot longer than I would have liked.

And BigMan didn't get it. Didn't pick up on it. He's not particularly intuitive--maybe he hasn't known me long enough. Maybe all his own baggage and issues prevent him from reading me. Maybe I could have handled the day better. But it hurt. Not as much as other things or times... I'm so jaded now none of it matters, least of all him. Just another flash in the pan.

My ex-sister-in-law tried to kill herself once. One night afterward we were talking and she had said that at the time, she just couldn't take the pain anymore. That she could look at someone and feel all their pain, and hers, and she just got tired. Wanted it to end. I think about her and those words a lot, because while I am far (assuredly very far) from suicidal, I sometimes wonder if I'll ever really learn to manage pain. Some times are easier than other times... and some times are harder.

Because right now, though I hurt for myself, there is other pain and sadness that I can feel, can sympathize with. And actions resulting from that pain have hurt me more than I can say. And so its' all jumbled up, and I can't even write about it, can't talk about it, and even if I did it would be ridiculous anyway. Cuz I shouldn't feel this way. But I do.

So I'll cry for a few days, when no one's looking. And I'll give myself some time to right myself, and I'll be OK. Till the next time.

It sucked. My hands were shaking. I missed the bus I should have been on, and the next one got caught behind the drawbridge off the Rock. In the jostle to get going after the arms of the bridge had lifted, the bus I was on tapped the Parks Department Van in front of it. The Driver had to make a report, and called the police. As the police arrived, they somehow crashed into a car in front of them. So then another set of policeman had to be called to take THAT report. It should have been funny. But I couldn't stop crying.

And of all people in the world to trust, who I could call... the ParentingPartner. He went down and picked up our Sun and brought him home.

And I thought to myself... this can't be happening. I can't do that again. I won't. I will not. And I cried some more.

But I'll be alright. Just a temporary setback, a shitty day.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I Get It....

...this relationship thing. At least lately, I've felt like I do.

I'm a dork, I guess, for it having taken me so long to realize it. Or maybe because I grew up in a family where the relationship between my parents worked pretty well, I took for granted how it works, assumed that it was all the work that made it that easy. I knew about the work and compromise... at least my parents always told me about that, but maybe I came to think that the work is what made it work not realizing that the work was easy.

And so I became focused on the work of it... forgetting about the ease. Cuz when a relationship is working, it's very easy. Easy to work at.

I always tried really hard in relationships... and most of the time it seemed I ended up being the one who tried the hardest. And that's not a good thing, because the more I tried, the less it seemed any body else was trying.

Most of the time I was the one that did the pursuing, the understanding, the waiting... forgetting that it goes both ways.

Because this thing with BigMan is very easy. And it's funny to me, cuz he's not anyone I would have picked: he's not really my type, and not that his ethnicity has anything to do with it but I haven't met a man of African descent in a long while who hasn't annoyed me.

Largely men of African descent annoy me because I didn't grow up here; I don't have the same biases or understanding of "black-white" that many have, I don't carry the same racial baggage or the hundreds of years of hurt. My parents effectively erased that from my psyche by taking me away from it, by not referring to "black" or "white" but by "brown" and "pink", by continually reminding me of the Native blood flowing in my family. And I have narcissistic tendencies and can be impatient with things that don't change. So I get annoyed when people are "stuck" in patterns of "black-white".

I've had a hard time dealing with anyone carrying that baggage, but with brown men in particular because being a brown man in this country seems to automatically saddle him with a load--with a hurt. But there was annoyance with Caucasians too, cuz they suffer from the flip side of the same disease.

I had pretty much given up on ever meeting anyone I'd be able to tolerate for long, and I had completely given up on anyone who would tolerate me. It made me try extra hard to manage "the crazy", quiet The Voices.

And then all of a sudden there he was.

It's an odd feeling to be cared for, and to be cared for by someone who is secure enough to care without demanding anything in return. It took me a while to figure out that loving freely without NEEDING it back was a good thing... I began to figure it out when Nene was in the picture. It's amazing to have someone be as kind to you as you are to them... which I began to understand when the Scrub came around. The unfortunate part to that was that he was only kind in the pursuit but not at all kind once he'd gotten what he needed. It was wonderful to be "heard" and understood, and I learned that when the Cricket resurfaced, but the problem with that was he was like that with everyone (which is a good trait, really except that it meant he wasn't doing it cuz I was of value to him.)

BigMan makes me feel valued. Little things like making sure I walk on the inside when we walk down the street. Opening a door for me. Carrying a heavy bag. And when I protest, telling me I should let him because he wants to, not because he's trying to curtail my independence or rob me of my strength. That I won't be weak because I let him do it even though I could do it myself.

If I start stressing about something--a responsibility I'm not meeting, a problem I'm having, his suggestions aren't condescending. "Sweetie," he says, "you're making this a bigger deal than it really is. It will be OK." Or, "you're doing the best you can, you can't do anything else so stop worrying about it." With anyone else I might get really annoyed because I WOULDN'T stress if it wasn't a big deal, but he seems to remind me of something I already knew, and coming from him I don't mind being reminded.

If I jump from one subject to another, and he looks puzzled, having explained to him the waffle/spaghetti theory I'll say "Spaghetti, Honey" and he'll say "Well, wash the starch off so they'll stop sticking to each other."

There are times when something he's done or not done has annoyed the crap out of me, and I feel the venom rising... but I've been through enough shit to try to be fair, to sort out what I'm feeling. And I can tell him what I'm feeling and he'll listen. If he's wrong he'll say "OK". He doesn't negate what I'm feeling, even if he doesn't agree.

But most importantly he's kind to me; in a very matter-of-fact, non-dramatic way.

It makes it easy to be around him, easy to be kind in return, and I've yet to feel that any of this is "work."

I count myself lucky because I really had given up hope that I would find someone like him... and I'm still a little reluctant to let all the floodgates open cuz shit happens. And it's only been a few months. But so far, so good.

Course the downside is time. I'm a lousy time-manger anyhow, and time with him distracts me from other things but that's my own issue.

And not having any money sort of prevents me from "girls night out", and I really miss my girls. I know some of them are convinced it's BigMan, but it isn't really... it's sometimes I just don't have the carfare, let alone the drinkfare to go anywhere.

And I miss writing. I have to figure out how to get the time back to write. I'm learning so much... seeing so much...