Saturday, July 31, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 65; If Only...(repost)

 Sunday, April 12, 2009

Tonight I'm contemplating happy endings. As a child I think we are led to believe that stories always have happily ever afters. The guy gets the girl or the girl gets the guy and they ride off into the sunset. The End. And yet, as an adult, I know this isn't true.

Actually, I've probably known that happy endings aren't always possible since before I was an adult, but never really wanted to believe or accept it. I am, in the end, a fan of all things nice and neat. And still, as much as I long for everything to peacefully play out, I am undeniably drawn to the sad stories.

As a child, I will never forget watching "The Way We Were" with my mom, who was a huge Robert Redford fan. The closing scene is painfully heartbreaking and I can't watch it without desperately hoping that when Hubbell approaches Katie on the street an entirely different exchange will unfold before my eyes. It never does.

Romeo and Juliet is another classic example. When Juliet plunges Romeo's dagger into herself and falls upon his lifeless, poisoned body my heart shatters, splinters, frays. The breath escapes me and my throat clenches as my mind reels at the love lost. "If only..." is what permeates my thoughts. Shakespeare, being the genius he was, brilliantly captured the essence of unadulterated love, but also of love that couldn't be. I hurt at the thought.

It seems that Hollywood and Robert Redford share my penchant for love lost. Two of my favorite movies that feature this theme also highlight him as the leading man. "Out of Africa" is painfully beautiful to me and after watching it, I am left utterly spent. I'm reminded of how fragile life and love actually are. In "The Horse Whisperer" my heart breaks at the love that cannot be. The notion of two people, soul mates if you will, who cannot be together is a theme that leaves me feeling gutted and raw, and somehow still hopeful despite every obstacle. How painful must it be to love and lose? To love but not be able to live in that glory? I can only imagine the anguish and steadfastly hope for all hearts to be fulfilled.

Happy endings are super. They leave me with a warm, fuzzy feeling and the ability to move about my day, business as usual. But it's the sad endings that stoke the fires of my imagination, the chambers and linings of my tender, romantic heart. Happy endings placate me. Everything else stirs me up. And to be stirred is to be alive. I feel certain Robert would agree.

Postscript:  I wrote this more than a year ago, while I was less broken, more whole.   At the time, I couldn't believe my heart would truly be shattered.  I thought love, in the end, would prevail.   With each passing day, I realize the love I believed in has truly been taken away.  I posted this piece because of something wonderful I read in a new friend's blog about heartbreak and life and grown up endings.  I'm Peter Pan no more.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 64; Hippos

This morning I decided to have a productive day.   Immediately, I knew the only real path to success in that arena was to tackle the disaster that is my closet.  Scattered, ditzy, disorganized are all fitting adjectives for me and my way of living.  I'm not sure I could ever maintain a pristine closet, no matter how hard I tried.

As I crawled into the battle zone, my youngest son walked up and asked if he could help.  He's still young enough to think projects like this are actually fun.    We talked as we sat and folded and sorted my clothes.

Him:   "You know, I call you Hippo."

Me:   "Yes, I know, you have for some time now.   But why?"

Him:   "I just love hippos!"

Me:   "Does it have to be hippo?   Why can't you call me dolphin?"

Him:  "Well, you're kinda big.   I could go with rhino instead."

Me:  "No, if I have to choose, I'm going with hippo."

Shortly after, he scurried off while I finished the closet.   Hippos are efficient like that.

This isn't a new thing.   Once, as I was leaning over the tub about to step in to find a moment of respite, alone with my thoughts and my Sweet Pea scented bubbles, he walked in and exclaimed, as he stripped down to nakedness, "Oh!  You look like a Mama Hippo at the watering hole.   If I get in with you, I can be your baby hippo."

As you can imagine, the bath just wasn't quite the same.

I should interject, at this point, a couple of things.   First one is, I'm not THAT big.   I'm active and still wear shorts in the single digit range (never mind if it's just barely).   I suppose because I'm bigger than him, I qualify.   Second point is that my son is obsessed with African animals and loves them in every way, shape, and form.   Honestly, when he calls me hippo, it's a term of endearment, crazy as it seems.

We are leaving in two days to head to the beach for a short, end-of-summer fling.   Even though vacations can be exhausting, especially when traveling with three kids, a playful dog, an on again/off again spouse, as well as another family of four and their excitable canine, I'm still excited about it!   Crazy, I know.

This morning, with my African animal loving son in tow, we headed to the local sporting goods store to pick up a few last minute non essentials.  I love buying little things for a trip, splurges that are completely unnecessary but also a bit of fun.  While meandering through the store, I thought I should look at swimsuits for me.   The two I own still fit, but with the extra 10 pounds I'm carrying this summer, I could truthfully stand to buy a suit that is a size bigger.   I wanted a tankini with a skirted bottom.   I had very specific ideas.

As we browsed through the swimsuit section, me bemoaning the lack of selection, my son pointed something out to me, "You know," he said thoughtfully, "hippos wear bikinis."

I had to laugh. 

"Yes, yes, I suppose they do, but this Mama Hippo just isn't ready for that yet."

Ahh, gotta let those good times, and a bit of extra belly fat, roll!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 63; Courage

Usually, when I blog, I come up with my title after I've written the text.   Today I know what I want it to be.

This morning, upon awakening, I checked my blog to see if I had any comments and lo and behold, I did!   It is always with slight trepidation that I click on them to see what they say.   In the great wide world of the interwebs, you just never know.

Today was no different.   A reader had left three very serious, important comments.  They are important because the reader took the time to actually post her thoughts.   That means more to me than I ever thought possible.   And yet, I wasn't thrilled with the things she wrote.    As I read the comments over again, I genuinely considered deleting them.  I'd seen what she had to say, I didn't need to post them on my blog for anyone else to read.   But I knew that was the coward's way out and if I've learned anything this past year, it's that courage will serve me better than fear.   With a bit of a pit in my stomach, I hit "publish" and moved on.

You see, a while back, I blogged about my alcohol consumption and how it scared me.  I decided I needed to attend AA meetings.   I went to one, truly tried to take it all in and analyze the situation, and then use that knowledge to make an informed decision about where I am in life as it relates to that.

I've come to the conclusion that I am not an alcoholic.   I think I have tendencies that could be alarming at times, but I also know my mental state on a day to day basis and I honestly don't scare or worry myself, despite what some of my journaling might indicate.

I liken it to this.

Once, long ago, I met a woman who I wanted  to be my mentor and friend.  I knew of her through another friend and couldn't wait to spend time with her to pick her brain on all of her life experiences and how she managed to rise above everything she'd gone through.   We spent a nice day together talking and delving deep, and then even deeper,  into the meaning of life.

As the day ended, with several friends sharing a hotel room, three of us crawled into a king sized bed to sleep.   We talked a bit more, until sleep overtook us and I thought that was the end of the night.   A bit later, I awoke to find my new friend touching me in my sleep!   I was shocked, scared, surprised, and even a bit excited.   In the darkness, my eyes bugged out and I grinned a sheepish grin.   Could this really be happening to me and why was I not throwing her out of the bed?   The thing is, on some level, a bit of me liked it.   It felt nice to be gently caressed, wanted by someone you'd least expect.   But, just because I liked it, by no means did I act out on it, nor do I consider myself to be a lesbian.    I don't see it that way. 

Nothing happened between the two of us.  I rolled over and made it clear I wasn't interested in partaking and that was the end of it all.

And that's a bit how I feel about my attending an AA meeting and my social drinking.   Because I drink from time to time and sometimes more than I should, I don't  think I'm an alcoholic.  The two don't have to go hand in hand.    I'm not trying to stick my head in the sand.    I opened up and blogged about my experiences during this very brief, sad, sad time in my life, but looking at the entire, collective history and picture of who I am, where I've been, and where I know I am headed, I honestly and sincerely know I am fine.

I fully anticipate further comments on this and what could very well  be perceived as my denial.   As scary as it is for me to receive well meaning advice from others, I think it would be even scarier for me to pretend like I was never challenged or called on my behavior.  

I have to not only face others, I have to face myself.   I think I'm doing it.  I think my big mouth gets me into trouble sometimes on this blog, but when I reflect on it, I sincerely don't think I could be any other way.  

And rather than berate myself for having no filter and posting anything and everything I think, I plan to learn to accept and even try to love that part of me.

Today A and I spent our morning talking and it's an amazing thing.   It requires courage, but we know, in our hearts, that we will be alright.

I am beginning to see the rays of sunshine breaking through the clouds and they are hauntingly beautiful.

With courage as my ally, I am on my right path.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 62; Love Letters

I can't write today.  I don't have focus.  While not distraught or despondent, I am all over the place with my thoughts.

Today A and I talked.  He didn't leave for work until almost 11.  We didn't cry, didn't argue, more and more our discussions become unencumbered of tremendous emotional swings.

Yesterday, I found a folder in my email called "Love Letters".   It was where I kept any email from A over the years that I thought was sweet.   There were about 10 in there and in reading over them, they did show his love for me.   I make little comments in my replies back that show cracks in my armor, hinting ever so slightly at the brewing of my discontent.

Either way, they made me cry.

One of the emails I found was from last summer.  He wrote and asked me to write a description of why we broke up, as if I was telling a friend or a therapist.   I never wrote it.    Until last night, that is.   

I didn't do our relationship the justice it deserves, but this is what I sent him last night, finally.

You're snoring next to me.   I've heard you breathe in and out for over twenty years.   It's comforting to me, but is it everything?    I don't know anymore.

Why did we break up?   Why did I stray?

I'll do my best.   Please promise you won't get mad.   Please.

You are everything you always were to and for me.   Organized, calculated, hard working, determined.  Really solid.

Those are admirable qualities, but I think I need more.

You don't open up very much.  When you get home from work, you are silent.  When you do talk, it's about stories you've heard online or on the radio.   A regurgitation of facts bores me.   I can read those in any book, on any website.   What I can't find anywhere else is how YOUR mind ticks.

I'm not interested in the quest for knowledge like you are.  I don't want to be stupid, but I'd rather know ME better first.   That is the knowledge that will see me through.

You are an amazing father and a rock solid support for me.   I can't turn my back on those things easily at all.   Those are very hard to come by, I know.

And yet, I go through my days resentful and angry.   Of what?  I have no clue.

I fell in love with someone else.  We were able to talk on the phone for hours on end, never running out of things to say.   Maybe it was because it was new.   But, maybe not.

We sparred, teased, laughed.   A LOT. I could call him on all his bullshit and he'd admit defeat.   Then we'd laugh some more.

You are sexy and attractive, but sometimes I feel like I've lost my spark for you.   I hate that though, I really do.

On paper, you are more than amazing.

I think, I would tell my friend or therapist that I've matured since I was 18 and newly interacting with a boyfriend.

I've learned what I need in a relationship to make it work for me...insane amounts of talking and lots of laughter.

I would say we broke up because we grew up and apart.  Our relationship ran its course and the aftermath was too much to deal with.

Our friendship is our foundation, a gift we share.

I could be totally wrong though.  That is what paralyzes me.   What if this tender understanding and support you show me turns out to be the most pure love I ever know?   I'd hate myself forever for giving it up.

I'm stuck.   I want to be free, but I fear I'm making the greatest mistake of my life in an impetuous, selfish move.

So, I stay, hoping eventually, it'll all work out.

Please don't  be mad.  I'm confused.

I do love you,

This afternoon, he replied.

Not mad. I think I agree.

I know that you will never find a love like mine. My love, like me, is unique. One day, I think you will know, even more than now, that a love like mine is not easily replaced.

But, I think you are ready to find your own kind of love. A new love, a different love. I don't think that there is anything I can do or be that will change that. I think you should rethink your answer to the therapist's question, "If he could magically do what you want, how would you feel?". I believe that my biggest disadvantage is that I am me.

I hope that I find someone who likes my stories. I like them. I like to learn new things and talk about it. My life is so dull, ordinary, these other lives seem so interesting. Surely I will spark someone again, right? It's been a looooong time.

I want to be released, to be set free. I want to be free of the guilt that I let you and our family down. I want some comfort and some peace.

I want to learn and experience. I want to experiment.

What's it like out there?
Fair question, I think.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 61; Last Dates

Today I sent an email to the new therapist canceling my appointment for Thursday evening.   I was forthright in the message, indicating that 1) I don't have anywhere near the kind of money it will require to attend weekly sessions and 2) I also had to confess that I didn't think we were a good fit.

I admitted to her that during the course of our first interaction, I'd already started editing myself.   This is how it happened.

During my revelation to her about my past year, plus anything else pertinent I could think to add to the list (parents saying hurtful things, mom dying, never having any self esteem to speak of), I posed that age old question, "Why?"

"Why would S do this to me?  Why would he tell me all the things he said, do the things he did, look at me and hold me with the love I know I felt and then just drop me and walk away?"

"Sex" she replied, without blinking a bespectacled eye.   "99% of the time it is."

Maybe my face registered something, the disgust giving me away.   I think I actually replied, "Ouch.   That pretty much sucks."

And it does.  

Now don't get me wrong.  I don't mind people keeping it real with me.  My best friends do and yes, it makes me bristle and pisses me off, but in 25 minutes of listening to me talk, I didn't want or appreciate her making blanket assumptions about someone I happen to still love, despite it all.  

Yes, S was in an essentially sexless marriage, but we had many more opportunities to sleep with one another than we actually did and he was always the one to put on the brakes.

In my heart of hearts, I know it wasn't just about the sex.

That's not the only reason I don't think we were a good fit.   It was this other thing she did too.   After I sat and spilled my ever-loving guts to her in her country cottage meets new age kitschy office, she looked at me rather stoically and said in a vaguely sincere voice, "I'm sorry.  I bet that hurts."

I couldn't feel any emotion coming from her.   I wasn't looking for pity.  I'd probably had rather her half chuckle and retort, "Now that's some fucked up shit!   What are you going to do about it?"   Instead I got the pat, textbook answer that did nothing to win me over.

Either way, I sent the email and this afternoon I got her response.   I was relieved at her words and for half a second toyed with the idea that she might just work after all.  

She wrote, "Thank you for letting me know.  I appreciate your candor.  I noticed the same thing during the session, and wondered if you thought I had a vested interest in you choosing one of the two paths before you.  I am sorry if I mistakenly gave that impression in trying to discover your feelings about it. It is your decision, and only you can make it.  I don't think one way is better than the other, but I do think with further reflection you will become clear which one is right for you."

So first dates can also be last dates and it really doesn't hurt that much at all.   I'm happy I was honest with her and didn't waste either of our time.

I should incorporate this into my life more often.

I just wish every last date was as easy.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 60; The Good Life

Wow, a mini break from writing, from feeling the urge to put my thoughts out there.   Interesting.   Despite the break, I don't feel refreshed or invigorated.  I still feel like I'm coasting.   We went away for the weekend, to visit my sister, her husband, and their kids.  They were hosting a reunion of relatives from my mom's side of our family, so I was busy reconnecting (somewhat) with people I haven't seen in years.   Saturday was a good day.

To review though, my therapy appointment on Thursday was okay.  Yeah, just okay.   When I describe something with that word, it means it was just "meh" to me.  By the way, is meh an actual word?  I'm thinking no, but it either way, it fits.

It occurred to me that it's not MY job to worry about whether or not the therapist likes ME.  I'm paying her, she should be doing her level best to win me over.   The session went well enough at the time, but within 15 minutes of leaving, I had to pull over and sit in a parking lot and sob.   Maybe that's a good thing?    Maybe it means she stirred up shit that was piling in the recesses of my warped and wacky mind?   I don't really know.

Ultimately, in the end I  just feel like we aren't a good fit.  I already feel like I edited my answers, tailoring my responses to things I thought I was supposed to say.   I don't plan to over think this and I am not being one of those people who move from therapist to therapist in perpetual search of the one who tells me exactly what I want to hear.

I think it's important to remember that I thoroughly enjoyed my original therapist, but she's moving and therefore, I had to move on.

So, anyway, therapy was just okay.   I scheduled an appointment for this coming week, but will cancel it.   In the back of my mind is also the cost of seeing her and all the things I would rather do and need to do with that money, i.e. school shoes for my three kids.

The weekend with my sister and her family was nice.  We enjoy being at their house in the country.   She and her husband had a gorgeous pool put in their backyard a few years ago and this summer completed the construction of an outdoor kitchen, including a fully functional pizza oven.   My brother in law treated us to gourmet, homemade pizzas fresh from the oven on Saturday.   They still have a few finishing touches to add to the kitchen and one of them is the hanging of a custom made neon sign they had commissioned.   It will read "The Good Life" and when I visit them, I truly believe they have it.  You can just feel it in the air.

I don't want to be jealous of them and I wouldn't necessarily want her life, but I would love to feel confident enough to commit such words to paper, or neon as the case may be, and hang it proudly for all to see.

I love my sister, but she doesn't get me.  She can't understand why I might not be happy and she doesn't want to hear anything about how I am feeling or what I might be thinking.   For months she told me she just wanted to put her head in the sand and pretend like nothing bad was happening with me and my marriage.   Now, at least, she will give me her standard "I just want you to be happy" speech, but she always manages to end it with, "but I still don't get it."

What am I supposed to tell her?   How can someone who has "The Good Life" even begin to understand, when I can barely manage to articulate my restlessness, my discontent, my anger at myself for not just being happy?

I know I have the good life too.  We are healthy, we are safe, and we do share love, in whatever form it happens to manifest itself into on any given day.   Those are blessings.

It's good to be back.

Just wish I had one more piece of that fire oven pizza to get me started on my week back here at home!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 56; First Dates

Today is my first date with a new therapist.   My previous and one and only is moving next month to Kenya.   It's not really the patient's role to ask the doctor why she is embarking on such adventurous and radical life changes, but damn, I'd sure like to know.

Either way, it leaves me high and dry in the self help, having a neutral person to pay to listen to me arena.

Kenya gave me the names of three women to begin my initial search for a replacement, so I immediately got busy.

The first person sounded good enough because she has experience working with couples and individuals, but she also seemed fairly "run of the mill".

Second choice was a bit more interesting, as she highlighted the fact that she particularly enjoyed working with people who seemed to be at a creative impasse in their life.    My juice began to flow a bit when I read that part, but I soon came to my senses.   Creativity issues aren't my problem.   I'm having relationship, love, life issues.   This blog is meeting my creative needs just fine and if it doesn't, I'll pull out my scrapbooks that I am only five years behind on and get to scrappin'.

The last therapist I researched sparked me immediately.   Her photo showed a fresh faced, plain jane sort of gal with a close cropped haircut.   The fact that she was cute, but not TOO pretty seemed safe to me.  Don't even ask me why.   Maybe I don't want to pay someone $100 an hour if I'm going to sit across from her and feel physically inferior.  Ridiculous, I know.

But, more than her looks, I liked what she had to say.   When I read the following, I felt as if she was speaking directly to me.

Do you feel stuck?

Sometimes it can be hard to know where you want to go in life. You feel stuck in old patterns that hold you back from living the life you want.

My passion is creating a space where you can feel safe and understood while you explore those areas of your life that aren't working.

You deserve to live the life you want. I can help you build that.

Her self description piqued my interest as well.

I am quirky, funky, and unconventional. I am not your typical therapist. I work with a mixture of practice techniques, fitting the style of therapy to the need of the individual. I regularly use feminist theory, Buddhist theory, cognitive behavioral theory, existential theory, and more. 

This must be what it feels like to plod through the millions of available singles on internet dating sites.   And I must confess, I have butterflies in my stomach thinking about meeting her for the first time.

"What should I wear?"   "Will she like me?"   "I hope I don't look stupid or turn her off!"  are the thoughts that are racing through my mind.

Superficial, yes.   I know.  But I truly want this to be a good match so I can just get on with the work at hand.

Surely she'll like me, right?

After all, for this date, I'm paying. 


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 55; Home

I'm obsessed with a song.   Can't even tell you if it's new or old, I just know I love it.    It's called "Home" by Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros.

Quirky, catchy, should make me smile, but for the most part it makes me weep like a baby.

I have no one to sing it with.

A used to be my guy, but we got lost somewhere along the way.   We shared a home, shared dreams and hopes, we even created new lives, but we grew apart.    We let our  home go untended, like the family on the street who leaves for vacation without telling anyone they're gone.   The weeds grow between the blades of brittle grass, the newspapers pile and yellow on the drive.   Abandoned, but not altogether forgotten. 

S felt like home.   His chest, his smell, his arms around me, those felt like home.   His eyes could smile, full on beaming.  They'd see me and light up, shining brighter than anything I'd ever witnessed.  I'd melt and feel more comfortable than anywhere I'd ever known.    He was thick socks and comfy sweats, a warm bath and hot chocolate, all those cozy things that feel so homey and right.   But as friends and followers have pointed out, it's over with him.   Over.    Him being home was a facade, a fantasy, more than anything else, a fallacy.

My mom was home for years.    I'd turn into her driveway and feel the pull of her love moving me closer to the house.  I'd walk in without nary a knock at the door and be engulfed by her essence.   She'd make my favorite meal...meatloaf with mashed potatoes and fresh green beans.   We'd drink sweet tea and talk and fuss over the kids as they spilled milk and played underfoot.   Every time I'd pile the kids into the car to leave, my heart would break and I'd fear that as we drove away it would be the last time I'd ever see her.   I know that final drive, that feeling of not wanting to leave her, knowing it would be our last goodbye.   She couldn't walk us out that time, and  I lost a bit of home when we put the car in drive and pulled away.

I've heard it said and read it a time or hundred that I am supposed to find my own version of home, my own nest, designed and created and constructed by me.

But I want an architect to draw up  my blueprints.  As I type this, I'm pretty sure that architect is God or whoever my Higher Being is.   I know there is a plan for me, but  it feels like no one has ever unfurled them on a drafting table for me to approve or make changes to.

I can't rely on a man to be my home.   I can't rely on parents, people I love.   It has to be me.   In the end, it's me.

Right now, I just feel as if I'm lost, under an overpass somewhere, searching.

I want to be home.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 54; Melancholy 2010

I haven't written in a while.  I feel like I've been cheating by posting old pieces about my mom.  I do so willingly and am very proud of the things I've said and honestly felt about her since she's been gone, but I am also posting these writings because I know that my own thoughts and feelings of late are very melodramatic and depressing.

I apologize for that and I know it makes this blog hard to read, but my purpose in creating this space was to have a way to practice my writing and to be completely honest about what was going on in my life and heart.

Today I'm melancholy.   I went away for one night this weekend and spent an amazing 24 hours with some girlfriends.   We laughed, lounged by the pool, and bared our souls about our lives and marriages and confusion and dreams.   It was crystal clear to me, while I was away, that A and I just need to separate.

Early Sunday morning, I emailed S and basically told him that my marriage was not working out, but that he needn't burden or flatter himself over that realization.   I pretty much laid out the facts that I love him still, but very much plan to move on and search for what I really need in a relationship whether he's there or not.   I immediately regretted sending the email, mostly because it was pointless and it went against the plan A and I made to really try for 30 days (after trying, actually, since June of last year).

I also knew in sending it, I ran the risk of S not responding (he hasn't) and that meaning that our relationship truly had ended.   I cannot fathom such a fate.   S, in my heart, is still the one I go to.   Still the one who knows me best.   I don't know how I'll ever replace him and quite possibly, I never will.

But then, something really strange happened.   I got home on Sunday afternoon and in the hours since my return, A has sort of indicated that he's done trying, done working on us and feels like we need to just move on, move apart.   

Essentially, we were feeling the same things at the same time, although we were miles apart in different cities.

I checked his phone (please, no lectures) and discovered he'd been reading personal ads online, mostly of the "women seeking men" sort.    I immediately went to him and asked him about it and he confessed that he does so when he feels hopeless and depressed about us.

Needless to say, I couldn't get upset with him, because in the core of my being, I understand.   He told me that the dream has died for us and he is just ready to try to find it with someone else.

And yet, it bothers me and I can't figure out why.   Am I jealous?   Am I still in love with him and by that I mean enough in love with him to not be willing to let this go?   Am I worried he will find someone better than me?    I know full well he deserves it.  I also know full well that we are not happy and haven't been for some time now, even well before S came into my life.

Hypocritical, I know.   I am the epitome of the word.

Last night I had the most bizarre dreams and in one, A had emailed a woman from an ad.   This morning, as we talked in bed, I told him my dream.   His silence answered my suspicions.   This weekend he emailed a much younger woman who'd placed an ad on a personals page.   I appreciate his honesty but am left with the weirdest feeling about it all.

We just need to cut our losses and move on, so that each of us might find happiness.   I'd also hate for us to start resenting the other person.  If we could end it now on decent terms, that would be best for everyone.

Best for everyone.   What an oxymoron.   There is no such existence, no such thing.

So, I sit here, not wanting to type this, but not having any other truth that jumps out, from the depths of my heart and my tortured, confused soul.    Today, this is my truth.

No tears, just this numb, lifeless vibe accompanied by a gnawing pit in my stomach.

I feel I've lost the ones who matter most to me, save my precious, sweet children.    They remain steadfast and that is a blessing.

I see my new therapist on Thursday, having gone ahead and switched with a few weeks to spare before my original one moves to Kenya, and I am praying she has wonderful insight for me.

Until then, I move forward, always, with as much strength as I can muster.

Melancholy 1801
 Constance Marie Charpentier

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 52; In My Dreams (repost)

Friday, October 10, 2008

She comes to me in my dreams. After three years devoid of her physical presence, this epiphany washes over me.

Losing her was the hardest thing I have ever gone through. My world, my life as I knew it, ended when she left. We have forged ahead and made a "new normal", as we call it, but ultimately it is not the same.

Stories are told of people losing loved ones and feeling their presence. "She is always with me, always watching" they say. Others confess they regularly *speak* with their loved one who has died. And while I have had fleeting moments of feeling her with me as I glide and trip, arms flailing madly through this obstacle we call Life, mostly I feel a void when it comes to her presence in my daily life. And yes, I speak to her, much like I pray to my God.  It goes something like this: "Mom, please help me have the courage to finish this run" or "Mom, I know you won't approve of this, so I'm asking forgiveness ahead of time."

She's not my God, but I do I talk to her in a similar way.

Every time I find a penny on the ground, I stop what I am doing, no matter where I am, to stoop quickly and grab the coin. She believed that every time she found one it was a penny from Heaven, sent from her sister who had died a few years before she did. I just willingly assumed that she would send me pennies also. So, I snatch them in my hands, hoping their sheen, or tarnish as the case may be, will wear off on me and a bit of her will seep into my hungry soul. I'm not sure there are enough pennies in the world to fill my emptiness and longing for her.

All of these things that others do to connect to their loved ones who have passed seem valid enough, but have always left me feeling a bit empty.

Which brings me to this morning.

I awoke from the most vivid dream of being with her. She was sitting in a plush, wing back chair, book in hand, smooth, tan legs curled under her. Our exchange was brief, but ever so lucid.

I remember telling her I loved her, really loved her and she shook her head in acknowledgment. She said "I know, I know. I love you, too". Then, I leaned in and kissed her.

And with that, I awoke. My entire being felt full of love, full of certainty, full of her. It was such a calm mixed with the most bittersweet happiness I had felt in ages.

I will continue to *talk* to her while I run and I'm not likely to pass by a stray penny anytime soon.

But more than anything, I'll be waiting for her in my dreams.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 51; Missing You (Repost)

 I wrote this in February, on my mom's birthday...

She didn't make chocolate chip cookies. Sometimes, on a lazy Sunday, she'd emerge from an afternoon nap wanting something sweet to eat. On those days, she'd whip up a quick batch of "No Bake" cookies. No Bakes, as we call them, are a delectable concoction of chocolate, sugar, butter, milk, peanut butter, oatmeal and vanilla. In less than 15 minutes, we'd find her spooning them onto wax paper spread across the kitchen counter, alongside the piles of junk mail and the disheveled Dallas Times Herald which she always favored over The Dallas Morning News. Rarely did we wait for the cookies to set. Instead, we'd each grab a spoon, scoop up a cookie and just let the warm, gooey mess melt in our mouths.

She liked sweets, but her tastes weren't all that discerning. In the junk section of our pantry you'd often find moon pies, which she liked to eat warm from the microwave, Oatmeal Creme pies, and Pop Tarts. I wonder if today's more available exotic treats like thick bars of dark chocolate or chocolate covered almonds would appeal to her. My guess is no.

Frills and finishing touches weren't her style. Growing up, I always hated that. I wanted her to care about things like fashion, name brands, current trends, girly things. Even when she was sick, it bothered me that in her whole life, she'd never had a pedicure. She would have protested, but I should have taken her to get one during one of my visits to see her. At the very least, she could have been pampered for an hour. At best, I would have had an hour of time with her to talk and take in her essence.

I never knew and never got to find out if she did less, took less for herself because she actually wanted it that way or if she felt like extravagances such as shopping in department stores rather than outlet stores was her way of making sacrifices and being frugal. I think she wanted it that way.

When she wanted to spend money, she would. She loved going to the "boats" in Bossier City or flying out to Vegas for a weekend of gambling. I know at those times, she spent heartily and happily.

She wasn't the mom of my storybook fantasies. In many ways, she didn't even seem very much like me, her firstborn, who somehow developed a love of shopping, fashion, rock music, standing out. It never caused much problems for us, but certainly made me feel like a bit of an oddball. For my one and only date in high school with my massive crush, it was my dad who took me dress shopping. When I went to my Senior Prom, we bought my dress off the clearance rack at JC Penney's.

Different in those superficial ways.

What I've grown to realize is how much we are alike in several ways that count.

She smiled through her tears. It was her weak attempt at conveying she was fine and it rarely, if ever, convinced. She was a crier. In moments of passion, her voice would crack and you could hear the tears in her throat before you saw them slide down her face. Much like her, I cry often.

Headstrong, she was. I've grown to realize that I can be too. Her emotions ran full throttle. You knew when she was angry, happy, disappointed. But, as strong as she was, she was also incredibly fragile. She possessed a tender heart, a heart that was shattered into pieces. Yet, she rose above her pain and emerged better for it. That gives me hope.

There is so much about her I miss. I miss her olive skin, next to mine so pale. I miss the shape of her fingernails, cut with clippers but never filed smooth. I miss her wrinkles and her soft, kisses that tasted like cigarettes. I miss digging for gum in her purse, her silly singing in the kitchen, our daily phone calls and her Liz Claiborne perfume. I can't see a Dollar General without thinking of her and the crap she loved to buy. I hear her in country music and see her in scratch off  lottery tickets. She never had the chance to win big and she so deserved it.

But, what I miss most are all the things I never got to know.

I remember a song from long ago that she loved, but I could tell made her sad. It was "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" by Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond. Looking up the lyrics today, I weep for a woman who was moved by a song, but as her daughter, back then, I could never understand.

I wonder what wisdom would she have shared as I raise my boys? What lessons in life had she learned? Was she who she wanted to be and had life turned out as she hoped? What, in the end, were her dreams and had they come true?

I can't ask. She can't tell. Well, maybe she can, but I keep listening and can't find her or hear what she is saying. I won't give up though.

In death, she taught me how to live. I realize the way I go about it seems odd to some, questionable, crazy perhaps, and even I don't know what the hell I'm doing from day to day. But, her being gone makes me feel time like never before. I know that if I don't reach out and grab life, it slips away.

Today she would have been 65 years old. As I type, a candle flickers near me. I will make a wish for her, for me, for life.

There's also a good chance I might make a batch of No Bakes tonight too.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 51; Buzzed

Yes, I am buzzed.   No, it's not what you think.

Tonight was our weekly Happy Hour and I brought my own, personal beverage.   While blowing through 100 bucks today at Target, I found a 4-pack of Starbuck's Light Mocha Frappuccino.   I knew I'd want something 'fun' drink once I got to the party and this tasty, little beverage hit the spot.

I chilled them for a few hours before arriving and then once there, poured it over crushed ice in a pretty glass and wah-lah....instant, fun, party drink.

I didn't feel like the odd gal out, I didn't feel deprived, shit...I only missed alcohol for a fraction of a second as my friend muddled her Mojito.

Overall, it was a good pick.

There is only one, teeny, tiny downfall.    The caffeine.   I had two (so only 200 calories), but I had them between 6:30 and 9:30.    As I was bombarding A with the details of my day, I realized my words spraying him like a machine gun. 

In an instant, I realized I'd caught my buzz.   I was just riding the caffeine wave.

Next week, I'll time it better and have my last call about an hour earlier.

Eventually, I plan to write about my visit to the AA meeting and my thoughts about my relationship with alcohol, but I haven't found the time just yet.   For now, I'm happy with things as they are.

Anyway, I'm off to alphabetize my vinyl collection and then dust the ceiling fan blades!


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 50; Harder

Trying is hard.   It's, well, it's trying.

Yesterday, A and I made love.  I suggested it, thinking it might be a way to connect, a way to feel better and release some tension.   I haven't had anything to drink since Sunday, so I was completely sober and as we eased into our foreplay, I realized, I didn't really want to kiss A.   I wanted to want to, but just couldn't get excited about it.

As we got into it a bit more, I realized that he wasn't getting hard.   His touching me felt terrific and I hoped that my writhing and moaning would help, but it was making no impact on him.   He slightly pulled away and said, "I'm sorry.  Sometimes I think of you and S together and it actually gets me hard, but sometimesI get an image and it has the exact opposite effect."

I didn't know what to say.   In light of our recent conversations about my weight gain, I wasn't sure if that was the absolute truth or if my size was turning him off.   Pushing those insecurities out of my head, I worked harder to well, get him harder.   Eventually, things improved and we made love.   It certainly wasn't our best effort, but it was an effort nonetheless.    In the aftermath, we realized that in the past year, the number of times we've had sex while one or both of us was sober (primarily me) have been staggeringly minimal.    There is a marked difference between alcohol enhanced sex for us versus stone cold sober.

It didn't leave a great feeling.

Then, last night A caught me crying.   It was late and I was in bed listening to my iPod.  I must've thought he wasn't coming to bed just yet.   I didn't want him to see me, I wasn't trying to be obvious.

My therapist says to just go with the moment and not try to repress it, which is what I was doing, but as soon as he saw me, what could I do?   

Pulling the buds out of my ears, I stopped the music and began wiping my tears.

"Are you crying?" he asked.  

"Just a little.  It's nothing really," I lied.

And then awkward, painful silence.   What single, solitary word or collective thought could fill that next empty space and make either one of us feel better?

He surely thought I was crying about S.   And for the most part, I was.    For the past few days, I've missed him in a way that physically hurts.  I am yearning for him, as if there is a magnetic beam pinpointing my heart, compelling me to pull towards him.   Constantly I wonder where he is, what he is doing and if he ever thinks of me.

But, I also cry for A, for the love we once had that somehow slipped and cannot find firm footing, no matter where we place our feet.   For the loss of our passion and our ability to hold a normal conversation without constantly second guessing what the other is thinking, inferring, or worrying about.

I cry for our sweet boys; so good, so smart, so innocent to the ways of their mother's Judas heart.

I cry.   

I try to keep my crying contained to my car, as I drive alone or better yet, in the shower, so that the water will drown out the sobs and wash away the tear tracks.   Red eyes there can always be blamed on sudsy shampoo.   But sometimes, I slip up and the tears escape when I realize, all too late, that I'm not totally alone.

No real tears today, but the heart is heavy.    I feel like a failure.
This is me trying.  

And trying looks like awkward sex in the early evening, stilted conversations, heads full of doubt, and tears that should know their place and show a little respect.

But, try I must.   Harder and harder.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 48; Counting

Today was just a day. Nothing grand, nothing horrible. I am thankful for this day, though.

The good thing is that I lived well. I worked, spent time with my family, did chores, even had a bit of me time. I ate well and feel healthy. All things that will help me sleep better tonight.

The bad (there is probably a better adjective for it) thing is that I thought of S a great deal today, really, desperately wanted to call him and hear his voice. I'm trying hard to focus on A, so I don't want thoughts of S creeping in. It's been 33 days since we last talked. Will I count forever? I still cannot fathom never hearing his voice again.

It hit me today that I am loved. Seems so stupid that I could ever forget, but I am loved. Was even loved by S once upon a time and love is always a good thing.

Just wish I didn't miss him like I do.

I have to push him aside.

People are counting on me to.

All this counting...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 47; Pooped!

I know, with me and a blog title like "Pooped" you just never know what you're going to get.   This time you're spared!

I'm just tired.  Wiped out.  I have on my comfy pajama pants and my soft, white tee and I want to get into bed and sloth out.

My day has been alright.  My friend and I made up via texts and emails, I know a face to face is upcoming but I just want to put it off for a while.

I'm too embarrassed and too ashamed.

As for the AA meeting, I went.  I'm still processing the experience, so I'm not ready to write about it, but it wasn't bad.  I'm proud of myself for going and for facing that fear head on.

Fear.  I'm tired of letting it rule my life.

But, for now, I'm simply tired. 

Plain and simple.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 46; Surprise!

It's day 46 of being 40 and  guess what?

I am an asshole.   A colossal, huge, gaping asshole.   Today, we watched the World Cup game and the wine flowed and I said hurtful things to one of my closest friends.    Except, I can't recall a SINGLE word I said.

Apparently, the wine flowed so well, I have NO recollection of anything I said or did.  I feel ashamed.  I feel horrible.  I feel completely unlike the me I want and need to be.

Consequently, tomorrow night, I plan to go to an AA meeting.  Yes, AA.   As in Alcoholics Anonymous.   I don't want to be an alcoholic.  I love a good buzz just like the next gal.   I love to feel that heady, tipsy feeling and be at peace with the witty things that roll off my liquored, smooth tongue.

Except...that's not me.  For some reason, I can't stop at the few, fun drinks stage.  I pour another.   And then another, in the insane effort to keep that buzz buzzing, that 'on the edge' feeling right on the edge.

Unfortunately for me, I always misjudge.  I drink so much I say and do ridiculous things.  I wake up the next morning frantically checking my Facebook page or this blog to see if I've said anything  I might actually live to regret.

It's HORRIBLE.   While I am outspoken and free-spirited, I am NOT an asshole.   And yet, drinking turns me into one.

And so, tomorrow at 8:00 p.m., I will waltz, or at best, timidly walk into an AA meeting.  

Again, I am befuddled.  But, I have to.  My life is shit.  SHIT.    This cannot go on any longer.

I hate myself.  HATE.  

Hopefully, tomorrow brings great things.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 45; Phony

I could have folded clothes or unloaded the dishwasher or shit, even closed the door to the bedroom and played with myself a bit, but instead I just sat here letting my emotions get the best of me.

This afternoon, I felt like taking a short nap and as I was falling asleep, A said he was going to get a soda.  The convenience store is just right around the corner, it shouldn't take more than 10 minutes to go there and back.

When I woke up, he wasn't home.  

I hate that feeling when I wake up and can't find who I'm hoping to see.  I meander through the house, looking for him and he's not anywhere.  I peek into the backyard and he's not there.  Finally, I open the garage door and see his car is gone.   Something about it makes my heart dip a little.

So, I did what any wife who's trying, really trying, to work on her marriage does.   I called him.   No answer, no biggie.  I left a message knowing he'd call right back.  He was only going to the convenience store.   As a back up measure, I texted.   Maybe he couldn't talk but he could read the text.  Surely, right?

Thirty minutes passed and I heard nothing back.   No call, no text.   I tried repeatedly to call him, not really sure why.

But in those thirty minutes, I think I called him 15 times. 

Sometimes, when I wake up from a nap, I just feel so cozily peaceful.  I even like the way my face looks, slightly puffy and sleepy eyed in the mirror as it smiles back at me.

My blissed out feeling was slipping away with each minute that ticked by without him calling.

But why did I feel mad?  Logically, I knew he was just having a bit of 'me' time, most likely looking at electronics or test driving a car he'd been wanting to drive.   Why would I care one way or the other?

I can't say.

I've always had this stupid, twisted fear that I was missing out on something.   My mom always liked to remind me of the time that my little sister made me cry because I thought she had more fun than me on one particular, random day.    Never mind the fact that I'd been out at school with all my friends or that she'd been stuck at home with the sitter and her imaginary friend.

Even at 5,  I didn't want to miss out on anything, couldn't stand for someone else to be doing something that I might construe as fun or adventurous.

Turns out, once he finally answered his phone, he was at the Apple Store.   What irony, huh?   He couldn't hear his phone ringing or the texts coming in while in a fucking phone store.   Nice.

Now, I have to suck up my immature emotions and put on my happy face and figure out what we should do tonight as a couple.

I hate being a baby.  

There's a bad pun in here about being phony too, but I'll just let it go at that.

I want to try to go and recapture some of my post nap glow.


Friday, July 9, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 44: Warts

This morning, I awoke, red eyed and unsure about what to make of last night.   The discussion, fight, exchange (I'm unsure about how to classify it) with A continued after I last posted.

We talked a bit more then fell asleep.  I forgot that I had to take two-thirds of my brood to the dermatologist this morning to have their warts looked at and treated and was consequently exhausted and harried as we rushed to make it on time.

I dreaded the appointment.  Having had a wart frozen off as a teenager and almost passing out from the experience, I didn't relish the idea of taking the boys in today.   I was mildly embarrassed by the sheer volume of warts they possessed and afraid for the pain they were sure to endure.

But, as their little butts crinkled the paper on the examining table, they readily held out their hands and feet and knees to expose their blemishes.

Even knowing treatment was coming and  pain was imminent, they faced their fears.

I realize it's just liquid nitrogen and a strange, albeit friendly, man in a white lab coat, but they did it.

When it was all said and done, the doctor poured the liquid nitrogen all over the floor and we watched in amazement as it danced across the surface, evaporating before our eyes.   Pure magic, it seemed.

If they can face their fears, big or small, I know I can too.  I have warts, they just don't manifest as fleshy mounds on my fingers or kneecaps, but they're there, all the same.

When asked what I like about myself, the best answer I can come up with is my 'summer tan'.   

I'm reactive and moody and emotional.  I second guess myself so much, there's no other option than to second guess those around me as well.    Doubt is doom.

The thought of looking at myself in the mirror and actually liking, no, loving what I see is terrifying.

Why is that so hard?   What bad could come out of just accepting myself and loving myself unconditionally, warts and all?   I'm beginning to think nothing.   Certainly nothing worse than the shit I keep putting myself and others through at my expense.

I want to face my fears like the boys did today, scour those warts from my being, and hopefully, I'll get to witness magic dancing before my eyes too.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 43: National Geographic

I don't typically blog twice in once day, but I feel this overpouring of emotions and just, well...SHIT!

So, tonight we invited friends over for dinner.  It went well, but the wine flowed.   No biggie.  I think.

They left, we got geared up to watch our Dexter and somehow, someway, an old wound festered to the surface.

I can't even tell  you how it emerged.   All I know is this:

At one point in our marriage, as I lamented over my saggy, baggy, worn out tits in front of the bathroom mirror (after nursing babies, mind you), A responded with something along the lines of..."Well, they are normal, working breasts....think of National Geographic."

Ummm, excuse me?   Did I just hear what you said?    I'm sorry.   Are you fucking kidding me?

Or wait?  Am I overreacting?

Our fight tonight centered around that.   Something said, innocuously, at least 10 years ago.   Except, I'm sorry, how could I ever really forget something like that that was said about my breasts?

To his defense, he swears he meant it  positively and it came out all wrong.  Really?   I KNOW he didn't mean it to be mean, but his ideas about my breasts are very clearly identified.   So, is it understandable of me to be a bit sensitive when he points out "perfect' breasts in porn or t.v. shows such as  Californication?    Forgive ME for being sensitive and while I'm at it, why not let me just undress in front of you and flop around topless?

Umm, no.  I don't think so.

Some things are just  harder to let go of.   Especially when they HANG from your chest everyday like a couple of gourds on their way to the African watering hole.

Feeling very secure and sexy tonight,

Finding Forty, Day 43; Land of The Lost

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 42: One Day at a Time

Yesterday was a good day. I had lunch with my co-workers, spent an hour with my therapist, ran important errands and fixed a kick ass, healthy dinner. Not only did I not buy any wine at the grocery store, I didn't even want any last night. A and I watched more Dexter and I went to bed feeling relatively happy and healthy.

Since when did my life and how I felt I was able to manage it become a "one day at a time" thing? It boggles the mind.

I used to dream. I used to look forward to things. An idea would grab hold of me, wrap its arms around me and woo me. I'd spend most of my waking time thinking about it and wanting to live in its glow. These things weren't always exotic, although sometimes they were.

In the beginning, it was the dream of becoming a mom and all that that entailed. I researched pregnancy and natural childbirth as if I were the first female to ever experience such miraculous events. It consumed me for years and I happily and willingly rode the wave of maternal longings. My life WAS my kids and it was lovely.

Once becoming a mother was a dream realized, I began tackling hobbies. I dove into scrapbooking, which became a love, and then, to lose the post baby blubber, I took up running. Oh, how running changed my life. I set goals for myself and challenged myself to accomplish them. I ran half marathons and eventually a full marathon. I pushed myself and I succeeded.

As the kids got older, traveling with friends to see 'our band' was thrilling. I was fortunate enough to go to places I'd never been before. But the joy was in the details too. Things like choosing the wardrobe we'd pack, selecting the perfect 5 star hotel, going to the concert, the laughs. It was all such amazing fun. Despite the fact that I don't do that as often now and am not sure that I will be able or interested in doing it the future, the friendships I made through that time in my life are incredible and lasting. I love those women.

But then, something happened. I started turning away from my life, myself. Was I becoming more or less the person I was meant to be? Was I being true? Authentic?

Seemingly, over a matter of weeks, all the things that once brought me such joy, stopped having an impact on my ability to find happiness, to find sunshine in my days. I was restless and anxious and unsettled.

Still, nothing really sparks me. Hard as I try. Rather than feasting on the bread of life, I feel like I'm picking crumbs out of the tablecloth.

So, a good day, is a happy day. I am thankful for it and will stop and soak in the moments of peace and gratitude. I will cherish any quiet in my mind that is strong enough to silence the unsettled, moody stranger who so frequently resides there of late.

One good day. Another one in the making. This is what it must be like, one day at a time.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 41; Dexter

It had to happen eventually and this morning it finally did.

During a spell of fitful, restless sleep, I had vivid dreams of wrestling with someone in the kitchen, trying to wrangle a knife from their clenched fist. Right before I awoke, the blade turned towards me and I could see its razor sharp edge, its silvery sheen as I struggled to avoid penetration.

That damn Dexter!

A and I have been watching episode after episode of Dexter and I knew, before long, something dark would find its way into my unconcious mind.

The ironic thing is that Dexter has been a source of joy for me for the past few weeks. A and I recently discovered it and are working through the seasons trying to get caught up.

I love to get cozy on the couch and watch the story of this compelling, almost tender, serial killer unfold. Dexter is funny and likeable and the writers on that series are brilliant. Dark humor is definitely my thing of late.

I'm not giving him up. Sure, I might have to jump into bed for fear of something reaching out from underneath now. And when I walk into the kitchen to get a drink of water at 3 a.m. so what if I run back to the bedroom as fast as I can? He makes me happy. Even if he is a killer.

Dreams be damned, Dexter is here to stay.

Oh, and no spoilers, please! We're only just beginning Season 3.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Finding Forty; Day 40!; Reality, T.V.

Life is unfucking believable! What a day it's been.

Yesterday, I was in the depths of despair and today, I swear to God, I felt better.

A and I eased into our day with some smooth coffee and a bit of light reading; he read his online auto news, I finished a Newbery award winning children's novel.

Eventually, talked turned to us. We can dive into a "state of our union" address faster than any forefather you could imagine. Talking deep has become our forte.

Recently, in an email to me, A described how his mind works these days. I should actually copy it here, because paraphrasing it would so do him an injustice.

This is what he says:

The reality for me is that I struggle every day with myself...

The petulant little child wants you, but wants you to come back begging for forgiveness.
The jealous teenager wants to run out and fuck the next skinny blonde to show you how it feels.
The collegiate romantic wants you to have your lover.

The middle-aged father wants to know if anyone else wants him.
The tired old man wants to walk away.

None of this is what I want. My actions should be clear. You've given me every reason to leave. You've given me a free pass. I do not want that. Somewhere in all of this turmoil there is something good. Something worth fighting for. I will not abandon it... until I am beaten.

In all honesty, the poor guy is black and blue. Any other man would have probably walked by now and the fact that he's stayed is both amazing to me and utterly unbelievable.

I think I finally see my place in his life.

But, I long to WANT him like I want S. And trust me, I miss S like crazy.

Anyway, today, I committed to spending four weeks with A, totally trying to make things work. In the year since I confessed that I loved another man, I've held out a part of me, in hopes that S would finally come around and invite me into his life full time.

Finally, FINALLY, I see that that isn't an option, and so I am willing to really try with A, with a concious and concerted effort. I plan to reach out to him and stroke his face when he's nearby. When he grabs me for a hug, I won't avert my face and avoid his kisses. I promise to really, honestly try to reestablish a connection with him.

So, fast forward to tonight, after all of our talks about honestly giving this marriage a REAL try, for at least four weeks.

I like to fuck. It's just a fact. I love it and one of my fears of becoming single is having to give up my sure fuck. I just don't want to. And as exciting as it is to fuck someone hot and new, I find that thought equally as repulsive.

A has been my guy for two decades and tonight I wanted him. We had a ton of kids in the living room watching Myth Busters, so he turned on the t.v. to drown out my noises. I'm a dirty girl and I like to be loud. Unfortunately for me, the channel he chose was airing the Bachorelette or Bachelor's interview with the person they chose whose relationship has gone south.

As I'm gearing up to take it from behind, I hear this annoying voice on the t.v. saying things like, "I never cheated on him. He just never paid attention to me and could care less about anything I did."

Okay, so I'm paraphrasing, but those aren't the words I want as the background in my love nest! Talk about fucking things up.

Immediately I ordered, "Shut that bitch up! I just wanna get laid!".

Luckily, the conversation changed directions and I was able to enjoy my evening.

The point of my night? I have no clue.

I was happy today. Making the pact with A to really, honestly try to work on things for a month is a safe and honest agreement for me. I can really do that and not feel like I am trapped and binded forever. Knowing that in four weeks, I have the choice to stay in or opt out, makes me able to breathe and sleep at night.

All in all, a damn good day.

Yeah, my life is crazy, but in this madness, I somehow found a spot of brighntess or clarity.

I can actually breathe...even while being fucked from behind with the incessant chatter of reality t.v.!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 39; Independence Day

Blah. Blech. I feel like the Wench that Stole 4th of July or at least the heartless lady who popped a squat and pissed all over it.

Since the moment I woke up this morning, I've carried with me a mopey, agitated, exhausted attitude.

Part of it is attributed to the Benadryl I took last night for a case of hives that emerged right before bedtime, another fair share can be doled out to my lovely, charming friend Ms. PMS, but another portion of it is just my general feeling of yuck.

My Facebook friends' status updates have bugged the shit out of me today. I KNOW it's the 4th of July. Why does everyone and their dog have to post about it on my social networking site of choice? Is everyone I know truly THAT thankful and THAT happy? Ugh.

Outside my window, my husband and kids, along with a gaggle of neighborhood friends are lighting fireworks, despite it being illegal in the city limits. In the past, the laughter and smiles of my children, illuminated by the sizzling glow of a sparkler held at arm's length, would warm my heart. This year, I just feel tired and done.

Trust me, I feel guilt because of this. It used to matter to me what the boy's wore on days like today. I'd coordinate some semblance of red, white and blue t's with plaid or seersucker shorts. They'd don their leather fisherman sandals and I'd feel sassy in my skort as I carried my patriotic dessert of blueberries, strawberries, cake and Cool Whip into whatever pot luck party we were either hosting or attending.

This year, I can barely fit into my white shorts and navy and white sailor shirt. As I type this, my shorts are completely unbuttoned and unzipped, granny white panties the only barrier between my bloated belly and the summer air. As for the kids, I've no idea what they are wearing.

What the fuck is wrong with me?

Why, with the family I have, the life I've built over these decades with A, do I feel so trapped and suffocated? There is nothing independent about how I feel today.

And, honestly, I despise myself for these feelings.

The question I ask over and over and over again is, "Why can't I just be happy?" It seems so simple, should be so easy. I am blessed beyond belief.

I do give thanks tonight for the loved ones in my life. I am grateful to live in a country where I am bestowed the freedoms I so enjoy. Somehow, I will figure all this out.

But not tonight. My bra is cutting into my back, I need a tall, glass of water, and some comfy, elastic waist pajamas are calling my name.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 38; Driving

I drank too much last night. I hate it when I do that and I really want to stop. My liver must be pickled after this past year and while I've had fun being social and living it up at the neighborhood Happy Hour, I know that I drink for the pure escape factor.

Before alcohol, I would numb myself with food.

Neither work. In the end, you just feel worse about everything. Besides that, both make you fat. And that is where I find myself this morning; hungover and hanging over (the waistline, that is).

I'm exhausted, wiped out, spent. After we got home from Happy Hour, A and I had outstanding sex (what I can remember of it) and then stayed up another couple of hours yelling and crying and accusing and blaming. We were a wreck, our car skidding and careening out of control, waiting for the impact as we slammed into the guardrail or oncoming traffic.

And because I'd been drinking, my recollection of everything that was said and done is spotty, hazy at best. I don't want to rehash the conversation this morning, but I'd at least like to be able to own my words.

Ugly as it was, it was cathartic. Twenty years of anger and frustration and sadness spewed forth last night. A shared things about me that bother him far more than I'd ever suspected. I just wish I remember it with clarity. Thank God the kids were at the neighbor's house having a sleepover.

If I could get in the car and drive away, I would. I don't have to be alone. I'd want A, the boys, and our dog with me. We could tidy the house, water the yard one last time, pack a few necessities, leave the porch light on, lock the front door and drive off. In the rearview mirror, I could watch the house and this life of mine get smaller and smaller until finally it disappeared.

But running from my problems, from life, that's a journey that gets you nowhere. Even I know that.

My head hurts. My heart hurts. My body hurts. My pride hurts. I want a do over on the last year and a half.

I'm mad at myself for making everything so hard. We have no disease (other than my possible propensity for addiction) in our life, no major strife. Why does love have to be so incredibly hard? Why can't I find happiness in the blessings that abound around me? These gifts are within my grasp, but it seems they wisp and feather against my fingertips, and I can't hold on.

I've got to make changes. The alcohol has to stop or diminish greatly. I just feel like crap when I drink too much. I say things I shouldn't say, do things I shouldn't do, and then have to deal with how shitty and embarrassed I feel the next morning.

In the light of day, with conscious clarity, I want to talk to A again about what we BOTH need in this life to make this love work. Apparently, there is something there because neither one of us are willing to pack it in and call it quits. Or are we just paralyzed with fear?

I guess I can't get in the car and just flee and I certainly can't jump into my time machine to go back to 2009 and start over. All I've got is today, now, this moment, to start the work of getting it right.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 37; Cheating

I'm cheating on my therapist. I never meant for it to happen and I still have feelings for her, but...well, she's moving to Kenya in a month and I have to start looking for someone else.

When I texted her to ask for people she'd recommend for me to move on to, she wrote back a somewhat cryptic reply.

"Thinking we should talk about that face 2 face, have a few questions, things I want you to consider. Did u want to make an appointment or wait until its closer?"

I must confess, what she wrote left this insecure, self doubter full of uncertainty. My knee jerk reaction was, "She must want to squeeze another 100 bucks out of me before she moves. It can't be cheap to relocate to Kenya." Except I'm not really a cynic (or wasn't before I got my heart smashed to pieces).

It's far more my style to have a conversation in my head that goes something like this. "Oh my god, she has things she wants me to consider! Does she know my darkest secrets? Am I a failure at therapy? Have I done something wrong in my quest to figure out who I am?"

Sane me says she just wants closure before moving on or to help me make sure I'm on the right path. I suppose I'll find out next week.

In the meantime though, I called a local psychologist who is a published author and specializes in adolescence. It always bugged me that my therapist didn't have kids. I never quite felt like her encouragement to put ME first was completely sympathetic of the fact that I have three kids who need me too.

When I called to make the appointment with the new counselor, I had no idea I'd be able to get in BEFORE seeing old therapist.

So, technically, I'm cheating on her by seeing someone else without her knowledge.

Oh well, life is short and I need help as soon as possible!

And besides, it's not like she does my hair and will be able to tell that I've had someone else cutting or coloring it. Other than cheating on your spouse, that's gotta be the riskiest philandering of all!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 36; InBoxing

A and I had an argument today, which is a fairly new thing for us. Our typical tactic is to just push it away, stuff it down, pretend like nothing happened, but once there is a breach of trust as big as an affair, once you've crossed that line, it's too hard to pretend everything's alright.

This morning started out innocent enough. I was getting ready for work as he sat at the computer cleaning out his inbox. I leaned over and saw an email from me, dated April 13, that he'd never opened.

Not necessarily a deal breaker, actually nowhere close. Except...this isn't the first time this has happened AND this is essentially the problem we have in our marriage.

For twenty two years, I've felt unheard or unimportant to him. I know that he loves me, he always has, but his actions sometimes belie that. And he's the very one who wants to point out how much more actions mean than words, especially in regards to how S treats me. Ironic, no?

I LOVE to talk, love to write, love to text, love to listen. The shared connection that is created when I do those things, particularly with someone I love, is what propels me through life.

I'm married to someone who doesn't do that, doesn't enjoy it and might not even want to try.

I don't realistically see how this can work. I need more.