Monday, February 22, 2010

I'm An Old Beeatch....

...officially. I turned 45 the other day, Thursday.


Most of the time, I don't mind. I like my wisdom, my maturity, my understanding. I've learned tons. Except for the "no money" part, I love the hell out of my life, my kid, my two men. One takes care of my heart and soul, the other takes care of our child, and contributes to our living. Who'da thunk it. That life would be like this. That except for the "no money" thing I'd be pretty damn happy at 45.

I am NOT, however, particularly feeling my 45-year old body... my sister inherited my mother's faulty teeth; I inherited my father's faulty feet. My knees tend to hurt. My heels are KILLING me, mainly because of the extra weight I've put on since the summer. And I am NOT feeling the extra weight at all. I don't mind my ass so much... but I'm not digging the belly. I never had a belly. Or the saggy boobs. I joke that I used to have big boobs and a flat belly; now I have flat boobs and a big belly. But what the hell... shapewear and push-ups work well but I'm annoyed I need them.

And the whole fertility thing. A few weeks back I went for my bi-annual chick-exam, and the doctor asked me brightly "Do you want your tubes tied?" "Um, NO!" I said emphatically. "It's painless now" he went on, thinking my hesitation was the pain. "We can do it in the office". "No, thank you" I said. "I'm not ready for that yet." So then he offered an IUD.

In retrospect I realized his concern was my being on the pill for two years, and at "my age" it's not really recommended, but at the time I was just annoyed cuz it wasn't something I wanted to think about.

But then for various reasons there was a month lapse in my prescription, and I skipped a period.

I was confronted with the prospect of having a baby at 45. Now that didn't bother me at all. Except I wondered if my heels and my knees could tolerate the 65 lbs I would surely gain, but other than that, and of course the "no money" thing I would have been allright with it. BigMan was a brick... never a hesitation, no freak-out moments, no withdrawing. Certainly no temper tantrums the way the ParentingPartner had. So baby at 45 wasn't scary. But 16-year-old (and with my luck, a girl) at 61 is sort of a sobering thought. So I dunno.

As it turned out, period started exactly a month after it skipped, same bat time, same bat channel and so there's no baby at 45.

But then that gave me a pang cuz it means I'm not that fertile anymore. No more "one-hit" wonders and it made me wonder: if BigMan and I decided to try... would we be able to? And that thought really sucked.

The axis of my world is still tipping... I can still feel things changing and I'm not sure what the outcome will be. I suppose a great deal of it has to do with the fact that in addition to me turning 45, my child is spending his last few months in elementary school. Oh, and he's beginning to look like a teenager:

Actually right here he looks like his Albanian cousin. But the point is he's got a mustache and a slight musky smell, and he's eye level with me. Oh. And he may have hit full blown puberty. His voice is cracking and deepening.

I'm an old beeatch, officially. I'm not really sure I like it.

However, I threw a birthday party for myself and I looked damn good and partied like a RockStar and lost count at about six shots of tequila though I'm certain I hit ten. And I could still remember 99% of the night, including my BigMan taking me to Fordham Road afterwards for White Castle, and then bringing me home and I never blacked out/threw up/cried/required holding up. So I still got it.

And speaking of BigMan... Sitting across from him at a diner the following afternoon I realized I really like him. I like him in my life. I will even give up my comfy and emotionally safe fullsize bed for a Queen sized bed, to accommodate him. He was amazed that my bed is 15 years old. Amazed that no one before complained about the bed. But I told him no one was ever really in it long enough to complain. He said "But you have the Sun...." and I said "but ParentingPartner never lived with us, and once we moved here he didn't stay here very often."

And that gave me a start... to realize I have essentially lived alone for 15 years. Well, lived without a man. That's a fucking long-ass time. So with another start I realize I almost want the BigMan here full time... but I can't until I can right my financial wrongs.

It's important to set goals...

This week was a big week for us, BigMan and me. I think we both hit upon a trust. About two weeks ago he'd had bad time. I pretty much figured out what was eating at him, but he refused to discuss it and it pissed me off. Pissed me off because I don't come from a family that hides pain. Now, there is stuff I'll sit on for a day or two, to process it, but no longer than that. This thing took days with him, and it pissed me off because I already knew what was bothering him but he wouldn't talk about it. And I seriously considered just cutting him loose. But I didn't. And last week, he "came clean" about it finally. He was so sad. I told him what I thought, what I thought he should do but I already know him well enough to know that that's all that can be said.

But I guess because I didn't push him, I earned some trust from him. And I could feel our relationship change. Into a companionship, not just a sexual thing, or a physical attraction, or a convenience.

He's a little high maintenance, though, and his health worries me. He doesn't like crowds or small spaces. But I can tell when he's not feeling well or comfortable and don't mind trying to make him feel better. I don't mind, because he takes care of me. In very small ways, like making sure I walk on the inside. Or opening doors for me. Or washing dishes, whether or not I ask. And he makes breakfast and has figured out how to make my coffee. These things count... they make up for a lot of other things.

So, at 45, I'm an old beeatch, officially. And I'm not sure I like it, but life is good.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

It Must Be February

cuz everyone's talking about love. All different kinds of love. Lovers. Parents. Friends. And so I'll join in the fray.

I've actually been thinking about it awhile anyhow.

Of course a lot has to do with the BigMan, but some of it doesn't. My mind travels in circles, orbiting a thought, and so I often revisit the same thought but from different distances. It looks different from every side. Almost three years ago I wrote about loving freely, with no strings attached. That it's important to be able to love without expecting anything in return... but that the receiver of love has the responsibility of doing right by that love.

I've been thinking about that post again, because I realize that it can be quite comfortable to love without expecting anything in return. It's easy, really. The joke of it is, people are SO afraid to love without expectation. They think they can be hurt.

But I realized quite the opposite is true. You really can't be hurt when you love without expectations. You are the one in control. People who think they will be hurt loving freely haven't really given up the expectation of love in return. When you REALLY don't care whether you get it back, you can go on loving and giving because you choose too. There is a strength in that... and some people can go for years only giving love. And while it's very important to be able to love freely, it is not the ultimate way to love. Because you do need it back. You SHOULD get it back.

Andthen one day someone gives it back. One day, someone tells you they love you, and means it. It can be a lover, a friend, a family member. Your child. And you realize that you are responsible. You are responsible to that love; to give it back, to treat it with respect, to honor it. You are responsible to care for it. If it has little idiosyncrasies or "isms", you have to become aware of them. You can't randomly and willynilly go around caring only for yourself. It's frequently a pain in the ass. You realize it's easier the other way; loving without the burden of having someone--a friend, a lover, a child--loving you back.

That's when you realize the true power of love... the hold it has on you. Because you ARE responsible, you ARE beholden. You can't just do what you want or put yourself first, can't just fulfill your own needs or desires if it will cost the love you have. And if you are willing to do that, if you find yourself willing to take care of yourself first, you have to be honest with yourself and decide if you really do, in fact, love that person.

Because the shitty part about love is that you will at times find yourself doing or enduring things you really don't want to do or endure. It can be as simple standing out in the cold misty rain watching a kid's football or soccer game. Or as big as keeping your mouth shut about something that shouldn't be said at that moment. Because of love, sometimes you just endure. But you endure because you want to.

The "enduring" can be tricky, though... you can find yourself enduring so much stuff you lose yourself. Sacrifice yourself. You think love is to blame, that you've loved too much. Lost yourself in love. But as I think about it, I don't think that's quite true. You can't lose yourself in love, in someone else, not if you really loved them. Because in order to truly and wholeheartedly love someone else, you have to love yourself first. Loving yourself is what allows you to love freely, powerfully. If you've lost yourself in someone, you never really had yourself in the first place.

Love dies, too. It's a myth that it continues on indefinitely. There's a country music song I heard recently that says you don't stop loving someone, you just start loving someone else. I had to mull that over for a while because at first I thought it made sense, but it doesn't really. You CAN stop loving someone. You can kill it, knowingly. You can take it out back and shoot it right between the eyes, and it will drop like a stone. Someone else can kill your love. You take a lot of crap from someone you love and one day you realize the love is just gone. Something clicks inside, and it's as if you can hear love take it's final, raspy breath. Or maybe you ignored it, or it ignored you, and without nourishment it withers and dies. You look at someone and realize it's just not there anymore. In those moments, you realize how fragile it all is, what a delicate balance exists in order for love to grow.

Trust and Respect. These two things must be in proportion to each other and to Love in order for love to survive. I have found this to be essential. You must trust yourself. You must Respect yourself. Love yourself first. You must trust the one you love. Respect the one you love. Love the one you love. And at the risk of being redundant... You must be respected. You must be trusted. You must be loved. It doesn't work any other way.

Like life, like the ocean or the moon or the tides, like breathing or living... those things rise and fall in proportion to the other, and the proportion can change, but it must stay at a constant. We live, we breathe, because there is a balance between the oxygen we take in, the way our blood moves that oxygen through out our bodies, and our hearts must beat regularly to ensure that happens... our heart depends on the oxygen that nourishes our organs that send that spark that keeps our heart beating that keeps us living, breathing. Sometimes we take love for granted, in much the same way we take our bodies and our health for granted, and something malfunctions and it withers and dies. There is a balance and an order that must be respected and maintained. Love has to be cultivated and cared for.

It's worth it to love freely. It's just as worth it to be loved, with all the responsibility that entails. The balance between the two, that's the part that's hard to get right...

Monday, February 1, 2010

Time Passing

is a concept that fascinates me.

It has always fascinated me... maybe because I have these "snapshots" in my head of a person or a time and that basic picture will stay with me, even though time alters it, or time places other snapshots over the first one... but there are certain memories that remain frozen for me, posed, almost... no matter how much time passes:

- the dead kitty in the doorway the time Mima accidentally caught the animal's head in the door, trying to keep it locked in our Paris bathroom. I was two.

- my sister's smiling face peeking out over the bassinet on the plane from Paris to Jamaica when I was three.

- Mima teaching me how to do the "Penguin" in our living room in Jamaica when I was four.

- my grandmother and her friend visiting us in BullBay, Jamaica, walking in through the gate to our yard when I was eleven.

- sitting in Planned Parenthood with my then boyfriend when I was seventeen.

Then of course there are the "snapshots" I have of people who mean something to me... Mima, HighSchoolMathTeacher...

and it makes a really interesting, almost frightening contrast to the things I can forget, obliterate from my memory. Usually these things cause a great deal of pain when I do dredge them up to remember, but like a dusty book I can look at the jacket and know what's underneath, and put it back on the shelf to "lose" again...

- my entire 8-month marriage

- my four year relationship with the Sun's Dad

- moving from New Jersey to the Rock

- my sister's and nieces awful accident

- my trip to Vegas.

And Poppy losing his leg.

I realized with a jolt that I've lost about a whole year. It's almost a year since Poppy lost his leg, and I've been in a fog almost that whole time. It hit me because right around the time when Poppy's pain was at it's worst I got a good paying gig designing a logo for a restaurant. The job was being paid for by the Cuban, a love-affair gone wrong. And speaking of, for the most part I've obliterated the memory of that awful time. I got my payback with him so I can talk to him without feeling anything, which is a good thing since he pops up from time to time and can be useful to me. Cuz he owes me. But it's weird that I can do that, too, make myself numb. Like talking to someone behind heavy bulletproof Plexiglas, the kind of stuff they have in the ghetto liquor stores and chicken joints.

In any event, the Cuban gave me a hefty deposit to do this logo for a friend of his, but it was hard to communicate cuz the Cuban had no interest in the work other than the final product and so wasn't involved in the feedback, and the LogoNeeder wasn't paying so didn't care much for schedules. And Poppy was writhing in pain, so due to various things the logo got put on the back burner.

No one ever called, wrote, harassed. But I was determined to finish it, and I did finally. I was going to make a business card template and just send it to the man, calling it even. I went online to search out the business address and phone number, and made the rather horrifying discovery that the had business closed.

In November.

It's February.

And I had no idea that much time had passed...

I don't like pain. And I clarify that by saying "mental pain", since physical pain I seem to be able to tolerate. My toe is almost healed. It didn't hurt that much to begin with; I didn't even use all the meds assigned me. The pin came out a few weeks back (and I never posted a pic so here you go--in case you cared)
and I can walk around the house barefoot, pretty much. I didn't need too much medication in childbirth (well, after they gave me Pitocin I did, but that was unnatural pain).

But mental pain I can't stand, and seeing someone I love in physical pain is a definite no-can-do.

Poppy writhing in pain almost broke me. I can say that physically, I didn't run this time; I forced myself to go visit him a few times even when his pain was really bad, and I didn't move to Jersey like I did when the building fell on my sister and my niece... but apparently I just checked out of my head. Which may explain why my life is a complete wreck about now. And at the moment I can't see myself recovering, but I digress...

I used to shield myself from pain. I still do, but not to the same extent. I learned early how to keep the soft mush inside of me locked down tight, but after awhile I began to suspect I was losing out on stuff--blocking out people and friendships before they even got in. Being able to lock myself away enabled me to endure a lot of things without breaking, but it also drove people away. And so a few years back I worked on opening myself, letting things in, with sometimes disastrous results. I survived. I'm still here, but I've no desire to continue to leave myself wide open. At least not to everyone. And you hurt me once you may not get the chance to do it again. "Forgiveness" I think is a very Christian concept, and since I'm not a Christian I've decided it's not up to me to forgive. I can make a peace, call a truce... but I'm not sure I'm required to forgive. Especially not if you hurt me on purpose.

So, time has passed since I last wrote, mainly because I've been spending time catching up on what I missed over the last year, putting away projects, trying to figure out where I go from here. And putting in time to me and the BigMan.

I said I loved him, and I do... but there is definitely a thick sheet of bullet-proof Plexiglas between he and I. There will never be another Scrub. But BigMan is patient... very patient, even when he's mad at me (which is usually because I've hauled off on him). He's earning my trust slowly, patiently, and I'm coming to rely on him. I even miss him now when he's not here. I don't even mind telling him that. After the whole BestGirl thing we seemed to come to an understanding of each other (although there was another incident and I flung a glass across the room after he left), and I'm trying to not let the things she does get under my skin. We all hung out briefly the other day; him, her, myself and my Sun and for the most part I could tolerate her and she behaved.

The other day, BigMan was leaving and he looked around my living room and said "If I move in, we'll have to move the drawing table over here" and I got a chill. "Why?"
"Because I need a work area and you see how much equipment I have."
He paused. "Or maybe we'll need to move someplace else altogether."
"We can't get this kind of space anywhere else."
"Maybe we need to move out of state."

The prospect of my life changing that much unhinged me and I said "I can't talk about this now."

So he left.

And I thought about it some more and I'm still not sure I want my life to change that much but it might have to...


Along the lines of my previous post of my resolution to let things "be", and to put right friendships that may be hampered by my inability to separate what I see from what other people see, I called up CNC and had her come over. And we talked... I told her my telling her off was only prompted by my desire to see her succeed, to grow, to live to her greatest potential. I told her I was happy for her and this guy she seems to like. She told me she loved me even though I was a bitch, and she knew that I cared for her. She even told me I hurt her feelings sometimes, and I said I was sorry, because I am.

And the next day when ShoeFly (who lives in the apartment beneath her) mentioned this guy was practically living with her I choked down my desire to call up CNC and tell her she was being an idiot. See? I'm learning.

Aside from the rent (now 6 months past due) and some assorted loose ends the only other pressing issue is fallout from the BigBurn. I'm still not past it. And I don't think I'm going to be, though I'm trying. It's that snapshot thing... the Burn hurt because it slapped me on about three different levels, the lowest one being that the incident prevents me from blocking out a painful memory. I can't just lock up the memory in that dusty-jacketed book, and lose it on a shelf. I'm put in the position where I'm frequently reminded of shit I really want to forget. And that pisses me off. Especially because I'd gotten to the point where I could look through the bulletproof Plexiglas and be OK. But now, everytime I have to be reminded I get angry all over again, even about stuff I'd put to rest. And I got reminded of that the other day, because I came across a name that reminded me of that awful summer and that awful blackness... I realized that my inability to bury all that was really fucking with me, and I really resent having to be reminded of something I want to forget.

But I'm trying. Besides... I have other stuff to worry about.

Here's the logo I finished, and underneath it is the inspiration I used...