Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 95; Just Maybe...

Something about last night's blog is bothering me, gnawing at my brain, scratching the back of my neck like a tag on a t-shirt.

I want to read and spend some time with my thoughts today trying to figure it out.

For some reason, the word "ashamed" keeps coming to my mind, but maybe it's "embarrassed" or "exhausted".

I think, just maybe, I'm growing tired of whining.

I think, just maybe, I know change is imminent.

And lately, it feels more like an inner change than anything else.

Just maybe...

Monday, August 30, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 94; Like A Bird

Last night, I asked A where his head was.   What he was thinking about us, what he was feeling.   I just had to.  Things for me lately had felt so clinical, so emotionless, I just needed to know his perspective on it.

I'm glad I asked.

We talked about Friday night's incident.  He was hot and tired, simple as that.   I was having fun and didn't want to leave, simple as that.   Simple, right?  You'd think.  But for us, it's not.

I questioned why he didn't tell me goodbye personally.   He questioned why I didn't get up and walk him out.   It didn't occur to me until today, but he has never asked for that sort of attention from me.   As for me, it's all I've ever asked him for.  I doubt I bring that up to him tonight, but still.

What he said about the last few weeks was that when I am busy and not crying about S all the time, he can be satisfied with our "okay" existence.   I don't think he called it "okay", but it was something along those lines.   Something like...."marginal", "makeshift", "average" relationship.

For him, no tears from me, no drama, means that he can just plod along in a semi happy state for however long.

For me, the past few weeks have just been like treading water.   And I'm getting tired.

Without anger or harsh words on either part, he told me that he's angry that it feels like he has to kiss my ass when I was the one who cheated.   He resents me, I know.   He said that he doesn't care about my car that I bought myself (my first ever) and will only help me when I specifically ask.   Truth be told, I've been trying to take care of it all on my own, but I did have to ask him to follow me to the dealership on Saturday morning while I dropped it off to be serviced.   Guess I should have asked a friend.   What would I do if I were actually single?    He also, basically, said he has built a wall around himself to protect himself from me.   Those words smart and sting, but I also think he's a wise man.

We also talked about the depth of our friendship and the absolute belief we have in one another.

And I do believe in him.  I do.  

I just don't know what that makes him to me or me to him.

As we were beginning to drift off to sleep, finally, after midnight, I realized something.    This marginal existence, where he doesn't feel pressured or  particularly angry or overwhelmingly sad by my longing for S, with me being busy with work (in years past it was with pregnancy and babies and toddlers and preschoolers), this "preoccupied Kate", has allowed him to just live and be, without being too encumbered by my emotions.

And this is precisely what led us to the affair in the first place.    Him accepting the status quo and me being numbed and repelled by it.

I told him this.

He heard me.

I have no idea what happens next.

I wept today as I drove home, during the time when S and I used to talk on the phone every afternoon.

The lyrics from the radio pouring into me, washing over my still broken heart, trying to gel with my confused and mixed up head.

All I could hear was this...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 93; Aimless

What am I?  Very deep question and one I'm not prepared to answer today.   What I mean by this question is, how am I feeling lately?

The past few days, I feel like something floating in water, being pushed along with the current, twirling and moving, being held up by the rocks or pieces of wood protruding through the surface of the water.

Am I a leaf that gingerly fell from a tree?   A twig from a branch?   A piece of paper than accidentally fluttered into the water, littering the surface?   I can't pinpoint.   I just feel the push of the current, the force of the flow and on days like today, I feel helpless to anything but succumbing to the pull.

Friday night, A hurt my feelings and made me mad.   As usual, our neighbors had everyone over for pot luck dinner, laughter and hours of fun.   I got to their house at 6, thinking that A would be there shortly after.   He'd been home from work for hours, as he was the one to pick the kids up from school that day.

On an aside, we never arrive at the same time because with me being the extrovert, I enjoy getting to their house as soon as possible to start socializing.   As an introvert, A likes to get home from work, shower, spend some time alone and then he'll head over with the dog.   It's not unusual for more than an hour to pass before he shows up.

Friday was no different.  When he finally arrived, as usual, we continued to do our own thing.   I've told him that I like it when he comes up to me and acknowledges my presence.   I like it when he will kiss my cheek, hug me, or touch me in some small way.   That rarely happens.    I usually attempt to shrug it off, knowing that sort of thing is hard for him to do.

Many of us were sitting outside while the grill was on, talking and enjoying ourselves.   A didn't want to be out there.   At one point, I looked up and realized he was nowhere to be found.   The dog was still there, but A was gone.

I texted but got no response.  Finally, I called our house.   He answered and explained he'd gone home to check on one of our sons who was grounded.    That made sense, but I expected him to be back soon.   Nope, it was another 30 minutes or so before he showed up.

And when he did finally walk out to the porch where everyone had then congregated, he had the dog on the leash and I knew immediately what that meant.

As he walked towards us, he proclaimed, "I'm calling it a night.  I want to go sit in the air conditioning."

He didn't stop at me to kiss my cheek.   He didn't lean over to tell me goodbye.   He didn't ask if I was ready to come home or say that he'd like me to join him soon.   Nothing.   He didn't even really look at me.   

Am I wrong for that to make me sad?   Is this the punishment I get for having the affair?    The thing is, I think things have always been that way between us and it's just magnified now because I had the affair.   Or maybe I'm finally articulating what I need and want.

As I looked around the table, at the other couples, I realized one friend was sitting in her husband's lap, and the other two couples were sitting next to one another.

I was the only spouse out there alone.

I had to get up and go to the bathroom to cry.   My reality just hurts sometimes.

After the tears were shed, I did feel a bit better and I rejoined the party and ended up staying several hours more.   I danced, laughed some more, and had a really good time.  

It was too late to talk to A about things when I got home that night, and I sort of touched on them a bit yesterday, but I don't know if there is anything really to say.

He knows what I want and feel like I need and I know that he isn't willing or able to give that.   At least not in those situations.

I either have to accept things as they are or make the decision to do something about it.

But for now, I guess I'll just aimlessly float.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 90; A British Invasion of my Head

Tonight I feel a bit like the Beatles (and when you read Beatles you have to say it with an accent, please).  You know..."The Bee-Tulls".   

I'm here, there, and  everywhere and I'm not talking about my 'love'.

I'm talking about my head, my thoughts.

Writing tonight is just a joke, really.

Do I write about A's visit to the bankruptcy attorney today?   Yes, he went today but I'm not ready to dissect it all.   At this point in time, surprisingly, I have fairly neutral thoughts on it.

Do I write about the fact that I have a new, healthy obsession in my life?   No, it's not Tofurkey, although during one of my vegan stints in life, I actually ate that for Thanksgiving Dinner.  The newest passion is the chance I have to teach reading and thinking about it is consuming many of my thoughts. 

Do I write about the stomach thing I have going on that, I kid you not, feels like I have a 5 month old fetus dancing in my uterus?   I am not pregnant and certainly if I were to miraculously be am not far enough along to feel a baby's feet pressing on me from the inside out.   And  yet, that is precisely what this feels like.  It's freaky bizarre.  Could I have been ravaged by an alien in my sleep?   It would totally blow if I had, I mean, who'd want to miss alien sex?  

Where do I start?  What do I say?

Focus, Kate, focus!

Maybe it's best that I just admit that I'm too scattered tonight to be of much good.

So, to sum it up.   My Beatles state of mind finds me unsure about my financial future, unsure about my marital future, unsure about how to teach reading ( but excited nonetheless) and unsure if I actually had sex with an alien and am now carrying around an E.T. fetus.   Wow, it's no wonder I'm a bit discombobulated.

Despite all this uncertainty, though, tonight I'm in love with me and...I Feel Fine

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 89; Heartbreak

Sometimes I read a Blogspot forum.   It's this place where bloggers gather to shoot the shit and promote their blogs.

For a few months now, I've been trying to "fit in" and be accepted, but I can't really seem to break any ground.

In the past, it might have bothered me, but I've come to just accept it.  I  continue to banter like I'm one of the guys and post as if it might actually matter.

Either way, I enjoy it there, so for me, it's all good.

Today there was a forum thread entitled, "People Enjoy Talking bout romance in general- Question. what's your heartbreak story?"

 Well, you know, immediately I was smitten.

Heartbreak has been the defining state of my life for the past year.

I just had to tell my story.

You all have heard it before, but this is the condensed version I posted tonight:

Never dated in high school.

Started dated at the end of my Sr. year, ended up marrying him.   He was good.   Smart, funny, hard working....all those things that I thought would make a great spouse and father to my kids.   And they did.

Except, at 18...I didn't know shit.   I wasn't being true to what I needed/wanted to thrive.

So... (and yes, I'm an ass and will take any slaying dished out), 21 years into our relationship, I had an affair with an old friend.   A friend from high school.   A former roommate of hubbies from college.

I'd made out with him once when I was 18 (after I'd just started dating future hubby), sparred with him when he was a roomie of hubbie's, but then not seen him again really until our 20 year h.s. reunion.

Sparks flew, emails ensued, and then we took it across the line.

And I fell for him, head over hills. 

For the first time in my life, I was free, I was ME.   I loved him with every fiber of my being and it felt more right (despite how wrong it was) than anything I'd ever known.

I was willing to hurt others because I thought, in the end, true love would prevail.

Then, after telling me he wanted me and that we must be together, he decided to stay with his wife.

And yet, he continued to talk to me and email and see me if I was in town for another 8 months.

This June, he pulled the plug.

Said we were no more and that I must stop thinking of him.   We were done, over, forever.

He even told me all the things he'd said to me were lies.


Here I am, 40 years old, going through my FIRST heartbreak ever.    I'm married with 3 kids.   My husband knows about this all.

You can imagine how shitty things are.

And yet, my heart continues to break.

I would have NEVER done what I did had I not thought it was for real.

Naively, I thought that if we ended our marriages to be together for TRUE and lasting, forever love, it would even out in the end.

But apparently, I was in a totally different relationship than him.

And I deal with that heartbreak daily.

Each and every minute.

I feel like such an idiot.

And I do.

 And yet, I think of S each and every day. 

 I just can't quit yet.    

His birthday is coming up soon and I think of him.    I wonder what he's doing, how his life is going, if I'll ever see him again and if I do, what would we say.

 I don't like that I'm this way, but I am.  I still miss him.   Even on my busy, crazy days.   

Even when the sun tries to convince me not to.

Even still.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 88; Warmth

I've been reading The Tao of Inner Peace.   It's a beautiful book that speaks to me, but it is slow reading.  I feel like I have to read each passage and then reread it again to make sure I fully absorb the true meaning of the words.    This isn't a chore for me though.  I am so enamored by the message, I am more than willing to take it in again and again and even again.

One of the principles of Taoism is to become one with nature, which always gives me pause.   I'm not what I would call an outdoorsy girl who loves animals and hiking for hours.

And yet, I do love nature.   I've been having a love affair with the sun all my life.    These days, we rendezvouz in the mornings.    As I drive to work, heading east, the sun is my beacon.   I love driving my sporty, little, non soccer mom car as fast as I can without attracting attention from the police while blaring my favorite tunes.   This little ritual is always likely to put me in a good mood (provided some sappy, ridiculous love song about broken hearts doesn't find its way onto my iPod shuffle).  

As I exit onto the neighboring freeway, with the sun rising ahead of me, I feel a surge of happiness, a surge of hope.   To veer right and take the "big" bridge would steer me towards S, but I remain steadfast and always make my way to work.

The sun shines for me.   I can hear her urging me, "Stay strong, my love, stay true.   My rays will warm you and you will be alright."

It sounds hokey as I type this, but I honesty do feel this way.  

This bliss lasts for less than 5 minutes, but the strength of it is strong enough to see me through, at least for the morning hours.

As the day drones on, admittedly, this celestial high burns away, but I can always anticipate tomorrow's view, tomorrow's hope, tomorrow's promise...the promise that I am loved, I am strong, and I will be just fine...even all alone.

These things warm me.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 87: Boys Town

Busy day here.   The kids start school tomorrow and in all honesty, I'm thankful and happy.

Darling son #3 has been experimenting all summer.   Apparently, when left to his own devices he will get as creative as the sun gets hot.

He's taken scissors to his own hair (bangs and crown), drawn faces on several of his sport socks and stuffed them with leaves, stapled them shut and then stapled them onto the structure he was building for his soon to be acquired pet, taken scissors to his own pajama pants and cut a swatch out of them, tried to freeze honey with an action figure perched in it, and really...I could go on and on.

Son #1 told me today that he felt like he wasted his summer playing video games (he did).   He also said that he felt like I didn't want him around much of the summer (I didn't) and yet hearing that verbalized cut me to the core.   I love him, my first born.  He's amazing and funny and smart and surprisingly enough, he's even sweet.  I've been savoring him this past week and it's been nice.  I can't believe he begins the 8th grade tomorrow.

Little middle son is my lost son, or so I tend to believe.  He seems to always be the one lost in the shuffle, never causing quite enough of a stir as his bookend brothers to get noticed.  And yet, he's our rock.   Our dependable, old soul who sees us through.

I love my boys.   I want nothing more for them than a life full of happiness, health, and the best there is to offer.   I want them to learn to live authentically, to believe in themselves, to LOVE themselves, for they are far more amazing than I'm even able to convey.

I worry I've done them a disservice this year.   Being so self absorbed has robbed them of valuable life time.  And yet, I know that until I'm healed or on the mend, I have little to nothing to offer.

Tomorrow starts a new school year and in many ways a new way for us to start fresh.

A visits the bankruptcy attorney on Thursday (thank goodness) and after that we shall know more.

I've been content for several days in a row now, but I worry it's just me biding my time.   I feel cracks in my surface.

Either way, we soldier on.   I'm trying harder than ever to focus on the important things in my life.   My kids.

My self.

We'll all be good, this I know.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 86; Shortcomings

On a whim today, I got a hair cut.  My plan was to take son #1 to a hip, happenin' barber shop to get his unruly hair tamed a bit.    A and I have pretty straight hair and our son's curls seem to defy our genetics.   When I noticed his mop top looked more like a throw rug, I knew something had to be done.   Our regular stylist was booked, but she recommended a place that is a city wide favorite and off we traipsed to have magic worked on his hair.

During the drive over, I started pondering something for myself.   I'd been feeling antsy all day and thought that a new outfit might do the trick.   Considering how broke we are and the fact that I do, actually, intend to lose these 10 pounds I've gained over the past year, I didn't want to buy something new that I might not fit into in a month.

But a new hairstyle...well, that sounded enticing!

For the past few years I've worn my hair shoulder length, with varying degrees of slightly above or slightly below.   I like my hair long, it makes me feel young and okay, I'll confess, sexy.  

Mostly though, I'd let it air dry and throw it into a ponytail because I'm lazy like that.

My regular hair girl is fantastic and I trust her completely, but she's been hesitant to do anything drastic with my hair because she knows the frail mental state I've been in all year.   She always warns me that it's best to wait to do something radically different until after the smoke clears.

While there is still a definite layer of smog surrounding me, I do think I can see clearer patches on the horizon.  And with that knowledge and a bit of a rebellious spark flickering in me, I put my name on the list to get my hair cut at the same place I'd taken my first born.

The stylist I got was of course a stranger to me, but she was intriguing and so beautiful with her spiky, two toned mohawk and her skinny jeans and Converse.   I was smitten with her to say the least.

As I sat in her chair, she asked what the plan was and I pretty much gave her free reign.   I told her my year had been shitty and I wanted something to perk me up.

An hour later, my hair was 4 inches shorter and oh, so sassy.   I loved it immediately and am happy with the fact that I dared to try something new.

For the longest time, I've toyed with a shorter do, but always held back because S loves long hair.   Yes, I'm embarrassed to admit that I let that keep me from doing something I wanted, but it's true.  I didn't want to do anything that might turn him off.   Turns out, even when doing my level best to turn him on, he still pushed me away.  

Today wasn't an act of spite, but more a recognition that I deserve to be me, for me, the way I want.  Not only does my hair feel lighter, my spirit does too!

It's a great feeling.

Besides, it's only hair.  It'll grow back.

Much like my confidence and faith in things turning out alright seems to be doing.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 85; At Rest

I haven't blogged in 3 days!   My mind sort of reels at the thought, while at the same time breathes a sigh of relief.

Honestly, I've had nothing of great interest to say or in Kate terms "ain't no drama or shit been happening".

Mostly I'm tired.   Being back at work after having the summer off has kicked my ass.   Forty finds me fatigued. 

I do so love my job though and as tired as I am, I believe it invigorates me.   When I'm at home all summer, I put off doing mundane tasks like the laundry and the dishes.   "Big deal," I rationalize, "I can always get to them tomorrow."

Not so when you work.   As soon as I get home, I feel inspired to get at least a few things done so that I can earn my rest, my play time.    Seems to make me savor it all the more.

Sometimes I wonder if I had always worked outside the home if I would have had  the affair.    I don't want to pin everything that happened on boredom, for even I know it's far too complicated than that.   More, I think it has to do with me spending my time feeling worthy and important.

When the kids were little, it was so easy to derive pleasure and joy and pride from everything they did.   As they grew older though and became more independent, my role in their lives took a more backseat ride.  

I loved being a stay at home mom, especially in the beginning, but I love being a working mom even more now.   This too could change, but for now, I relish my time away, my time to be me and achieve great things on my own.

It's just long, hard work trying to do it all. 

I truly admire and respect moms and dads who have combined parenting and working through the ages, it's far more daunting that I'd have ever imagined.

So, as I ramble this evening about the status of my working life versus being a stay at home mom, pondering the what if's and the wonder why's, I find myself, in this moment, content.

Content and wiped out, but with a bit of a smile on my tired face.

Not a bad place to be.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 82; Manifest

I'm crying tonight.  Big whoop, right?  What else is new?   I swear I don't TRY to be this way.  My only guideline is that I write here, honestly and in the moment.

And in this moment, I'm crying.

I saw Kenya, my therapist, today for the last time.   I drove to her office, fraught with anticipation and hope, knowing this would be our final meeting.

I've lived far too many years, in far too many places to ever hold out hope that we might one day see each other again, especially in the context we see one another now.

As an aside, during my childhood, I never lived anywhere longer than 3 years.  3 years.   Just about enough time to move into a strange place, prepare the soil and plant the seeds, tend to that garden and just about begin to see the fruits of your labor.   And then YANK, suddenly you're pulled from your earth, your home and moved to the next locale.

I know how it feels to have a best friend, that one person with whom you can be yourself and not worry and then have to tell them a tearful goodbye because your dad has a better job somewhere else.  It hurts and it sucks.

But, if I'm being honest, in some of our moves, I was ready and willing to let go.   For whatever reason, a new start, in a new place, was exactly what I wanted.

Always, I was the one moving on.   I got to dictate the time line, the final goodbye.   Rarely, if ever, was I the one left behind.

That is, until this summer.

Twice now, within a span of 2 months, people that I cherish in my life, for whatever reason, have decided they need to move on.

In all honesty, I only take it personally with S.  I know Kenya's moving on has nothing to do with me.   Hell, S's might not either, if I was able to separate myself from him and his feelings.

Either way, I've had to say goodbye to two people who, whether I realized it or not, I genuinely cared about.

It's hard.   I won't lie.

With Kenya, I could be me.   Of course, I paid her to let me be that way, but that's beside the point.  It felt so good to be accepted wholly.    With S, I felt the same way. Until I didn't.   But I won't digress now.

I didn't cry during our session today.  I tried to grasp and hold onto every morsel of advice and wisdom she doled out, as if her words were my magical elixir, my saving grace.

Knowing that she was striking out on her own, to live her dreams manifest, made her look all the more beautiful and powerful to me.

When I told her I was happy for her and excited about her adventure, I meant every word I said.

I also knew that every pull and ache in my breaking heart was the real deal too.   

There is a gypsy within me.   How she chooses to come out, dance, be herself and live her charmed, magical life is yet to be seen.

I think she thought it might be through S.   But now she knows she was wrong.

What's next?  I'm not totally sure.

I just know I want to be there for her ride.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 81; Star Light

Tonight I'm tired.  Like can barely hold my head up worn out.

It's a mixed blessing.   I'm exhausted, which almost feels great, but I'm also a bit anxious.   I'm not really sure why.

I think it's because I want to sleep well tonight, but lately I've learned that the more you want something, the less likely you are to actually get it.

Not to sound cynical, but I'm not as naive as I once was.   That's probably a good thing considering I've gotten myself into a few pickles in my life because I dared to believe the best in people and situations.

And yet, I don't want to have to totally give up being that way.  I sort of liked it. 

But life can be cruel and I've learned the hard way to not be so blindly trusting.   I seriously allowed myself to get hurt, trampled and almost destroyed because of what I felt was an innocent and complete belief in something that wasn't actually true.

Tonight my youngest and I took a walk, hand in hand, around the block.  Lately, I've not had very many still moments with my kids, so when I find myself alone with one of them, I try to savor it and potentially capitalize on the moment.

We chatted back and forth a bit and eventually our talk turned to wishes.

Once upon a time, I'd have knelt down and pointed into the velvet of the night sky.   I'd have encouraged him to pick the brightest star, squeeze his eyes shut and make a wish.   A warm fuzzy feeling would have enveloped me.

Not any more.   Tonight as I held his little hand in mine, his bare feet slapping against the pavement, I told him that wishes rarely come true.   I tried to teach him that if you really wanted something in life, your best bet of getting it was a run of luck and some hard work.

I'm not sure if I'm more proud of my honesty or saddened by the cynic I've become.    I suppose in some strange way, I want to try to help him understand the harshness of life so when the time comes that he gets trampled underneath it,the hurt might not sting as bad.

Suddenly, there's no chance of a warm, fuzzy feeling.

Right now, I wish I'd left his innocence alone for a while longer.

Maybe tomorrow we can take another walk around the block.

Maybe if I squeeze my eyes shut and...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 80; Eat, Pray, Love (Spoiler Alert)

Tonight I'm venting.  Okay, well, so I always vent.  Big deal.   This is my year, my time to begin to figure things out.

My latest epiphany is that the much lauded, Oprah approved "Eat, Pray, Love" annoys the hell out of me.   Yes, I read the book, albeit years after the initial buzz over it died down.  And no, I have not yet seen the movie, but to be fair, I am sure I will, just maybe on dvd not in the theater.

The book bugged me.   I won't be transparent.  My initial problem is jealousy.   I'm jealous that Liz Gilbert was able to take what is undeniably an amazing life experience, write about it, and make millions.   Shit, she even gets Julia Roberts to portray her.   If a movie was made about my life, my best hope is to get Ricki Lake to stop touting home birth, gain back a good 10 pounds and hit the big screen again.

But, on a deeper level, the book bugs me because I wanted it to inspire me.  I wanted to be moved, to be challenged, to have Liz Gilbert grab me by the scruff of my whiny ass neck and force me to begin living my life fully.

And for the most part, it just didn't.

The book and apparently the movie, or at least the movie trailer, have the heroine explaining that her entire life has centered around love and being in love.   The trailer has Julia Robert's saying "Since I was 15, I've either been with a guy or breaking up with a guy...I haven't had so much as 2 weeks to deal with myself."

The movie trailer continues on with lush scenery, moving music, and phrases flashed across the screen that read "Have you lost touch with who you are?  Then risk everything and let yourself go."

And the romantic, gypsy, free spirit in me cries. 

The realist in me wants to puke a bit in my mouth.

Not to be jaded or cynical, but her purpose was to go away for a year to reconnect with herself and spend time alone, not being in love.

To cut directly to the chase, she can't even make it one full year without a man in her life.   By book's end, she has met someone in Bali and fallen in love.

Am I missing the point?  Can I not see the larger picture?

Could she truly not find a way to live without a man in her life or did the unapologetic time she was able to put into herself  push her through the process of finding herself and true, inner peace a bit faster?

Because let's get real here.

The trailer encourages us to "risk everything".   But, in all honesty, what did she have to lose?   She was already divorced, her job was such that she could write whether she be in NYC or Italy, India, or Bali.   She never had children.   What was holding her back, really? 

Trust me, I'm all for finding oneself.   I would love to have the year that she had, although there is no need for me to travel to Italy to gain weight.   I seem to do just fine within the confines of a Texas suburb. 

I honestly don't mean to sound like such a hater, I just don't get the general and overwhelming enamored state people fall into where this woman and her story are concerned.

The heroes to me are the moms who are busy schlepping kids to and from soccer and ballet, who spend hours working at a job they may or may not love and still have to come home at night and scrub toilets or make spaghetti for dinner.   Their Italy is a glass of red wine and if they're lucky they can meditate as Liz Gilbert did in India from their back porch as they watch the sun set in the western sky.   As for finding the love of their life, as the author did in Bali, well, hopefully he's been there with her all along as she trudged through her day.

And if he hasn't, then I hope she finds the courage to go out and find him.    For most of us though,  it won't be in Italy, India, or Bali.

Yes, we can all decide to eat, pray, and love but to adulate Liz Gilbert for daring to live a dream, well...it's hard for me to swallow.  She really had nothing to lose.  And even when she did go out in search of herself, she ended up back in another relationship before year's end.

My real love goes out to all the women who don't have the luxuries she had and still somehow, someway manage to find their inner piece, their inner peace.

This is my year,   I can't wait to see where my journey takes me.

Liz Gilbert, you can eat, pray, and love your heart out.

It's my turn.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 78; Horizons

Last night, I got home to find a response from A to my email.   I was a bit shocked because he usually doesn't get around to checking my emails for some time (months in a couple of cases).

I read this and I don't know what to say. There has to be hope for us together or apart. What comes next depends on what you and I want. But there is hope. The future's so bright I've got to wear shades.

You are at a low, low point, but I don't think it will get any lower. There's something beautiful over the horizon, you just have to pick the path out of the valley. Keep moving, that's the answer.

His words are bittersweet.  When I read them I feel so many emotions.  I feel guilty because I have such a wise person in my life and I've messed up our marriage, his words also make me feel safe, as if everything will be alright if only I believe.  I even feel hopeful when I read them and determined to move forward.

But with him or without? 

Selfishly, I used to assume it was up to me.    What a foolish thought.    Now I see clearly that he has a say and his say is that we most likely won't be able to work it out.

And how does that make me feel?  Again, quite mixed.   I get this sort of excited sense of relief that is soon swept away by profound sadness and fear.   I cannot accept being wrong as an option, not when my kids are a factor. 

Although, I've never stopped to think about us staying together, making each other miserable as an option that could be wrong too, particularly where our kids are involved.

See how jumbled my brain is?

What I want is happiness, health, laughter and love.   Is that too vague?  I can't even define what I want without questioning if I do it right.

I want my kids to be safe, healthy, and as happy as possible.  I want to be successful at my job.  I want to write and yes, I do dream of being published.

I want to feel comfortable being me, the real me, the one I'm scared to show just about everyone, the one I feel is too weird to fully expose.

I want to feel free and have rich life experiences.   When I'm older, I want to look back on my life and imagine it as a colorful tapestry of woven events, immense in breadth and depth.

And still, I feel like these things I've said I want are too general, too generic.

For the first time ever, I watched Pirates of the Caribbean and mostly enjoyed it.   The final scene made an impact on me.

Having just procured the Black Pearl, Jack Sparrow looks out into the distance and tells his crew to point him towards the horizon.

That's precisely where I'm headed as well.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 77; Martha Stewart

My email to A today, because it's the truest picture of how I'm feeling in this moment.

I'm sad and lonely.  I keep crying today, but only for a little bit at a time.   I'm bored and hot too.  I just now, at 4, turned down the air.   I thought about calling you, but if I do you will be busy and I won't even know what to say on the phone.   We'll have those awkward silences and I won't know how to fill them, but will feel such pressure to do that very thing.   So, I'll ask you mundane questions, further wasting your time, all the while trying to make things feel right.  

What happened?  Where did we/I go wrong?   How did we get here? 

I'm so tired.  So tired of worrying, so tired of wishing for things that cannot be (not just S related).   So tired of being fat and lethargic.  So tired of wrinkles, craters under my eyes, clenched, aching jaws.

I'm angry too.  Angry that I gave myself so wholeheartedly and willingly to someone who didn't appreciate me or in the end, even want me.   And angry that you could say the same about what I did with you.  I'm so, so sorry.   So sorry.  

I had dreams.   We were going to be happy, live in a decent house, with thick, green grass and big, oak trees.  We'd wear white linen on the beach and send our sunburned smiling faces out every Christmas in cards to show how great things were.   I'd decorate the house for every holiday and the smell of cookies would waft through the house year round.

I was going to write and then write some more and be a member of writing clubs and discussion groups.  I was going to talk about intelligent topics like politics and philosophy and women's rights and love.

And we were going to be best friends.  We'd have time to sit and listen to each other's dreams, wishes, our daily diatribes.  We'd laugh and have inside jokes and never run out of anything to say to one another.  
We'd walk, hand in wrinkled hand at a pace that fell somewhere in between your fast clip and my lazy gait. 

When did I stop thinking that any of this was possible with you?   How did I lose this vision?   And how do I get it back or do I even want to?

Who am I and what do I want?

I've got to figure that out.  I've got to put aside the Martha Stewart version of what I thought my life should  and would be and begin doing some serious soul searching.

Whatever I come up with, at least it will be movement in any direction.  I'm beyond tired of being stuck.

Sorry I'll be gone tonight.   It just seems like we need to talk, even though I know how hard and exhausting that is.

I love you,

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 75; Woman

I've avoided the blog today.   I'm not exactly sure why, but I feel pretty sure it might have something to do with the fact that I have nothing earth shattering or new to say.

Day 1 (again and finally) of no S.  Day whatever of still being me.  The me who doesn't know herself.

I've been thinking about that a lot today.  A knows all about yesterday.  Our relationship is such that I called him from the road, tears streaming down my face and confessed my call to S.  I told him everything we talked about, all the things we said, and he listened.

When I got to our business, which is about 45 minutes north of our house, I pulled over and we went to lunch.   After eating, I didn't want to go home just yet, so we drove around the countryside and talked even more.  We parked and looked where a bridge had been removed from an old road.   We peered over the edge and watched fish swim.

He then drove to where the road goes directly over the water.  He stopped in the middle of the one lane bridge, turned off the Suburban, and we sat and listened to the water flowing.   In the bright sunshine, with the water babbling around us, I felt peace.

As a child, my number one goal was to be pleasing.  I always wanted people to approve, to agree, to like me.  I hated conflict of any kind.

I made the best grades, rarely broke rules, and was the quintessential good girl.

I grew up and married the quintessential good guy.

We fell into our romance and our life together, having little to no experience in any aspect of relationships.  My slate was essentially stark, bare, clean.

Never, as a child, did I lay in bed at night and dream about being stupid.  Never did I say, "When I grow up, I want to be weak and destroyed."   Not once did I think I would do anything as hurtful as have an affair.

And yet I did.   I've been stupid, weak, and I do feel destroyed.  I've been hurtful and am hurt.  But, despite it all, I've been true to me.

I don't plan to live with regrets.  Yes, I am sorry for the pain I've caused A.  Honestly, selfishly, I'm sorry for the pain I've endured.

But I also know that being human means taking on the full array of emotions, life challenges, victories and defeats. 

I think I'd have it no other way.

I also don't make any promises to not be stupid again.  I feel my learning curve is pretty steep and all I can do is my own, personal best.  No one else's.

Yesterday, while driving home, I listened to my iPod.  A song came on that I've had for some time but has somehow never made the shuffle rotation.   It's a song I loved as a little girl, a song that I knew was bigger than I could understand at the time.   Yesterday, it was my song.

I might be stupid and I'm damn sure I'll make mistakes again.  I plan to love with all my heart and live with passion, even if it ends up hurting like hell.  I know no other way.  But to do those things is to be human, to be the woman I want to be.

And I am.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 74; Fourteen

14 beat out 40 today.   On my way home from Dallas' house, I called S at work.   I didn't have an agenda, a speech, a plan really.  I was 100% flying by the seat of my pants.  Secretly, I hoped he'd finally have that epiphany he's been telling me for months he's never going to have.  My next hope was if that didn't happen, then I'd be able to somehow orchestrate a variation of closure that would seal this vault for good.    We've said hello and goodbye so many times in the past year, I've lost count.

Today was our last goodbye.

His voice, usually so warm and charming, sounded hollow.  My best guess is that it was echoing off the wall he's constructed around his heart.   He was polite, but distant.   I'm not sure why I am surprised or upset by any of this.

Finally, he's being a man and following through, his actions confirming his words.

I'm numb as I type this.   I continue to bang my head against the wall of denial I've built around myself and the blood is certainly oozing.  The stupid thing is, I know I'm about to bang my head each time and I willingly throw it back so as to get better thrust on my forward motion.   Bam!

The conversation was just shy of an hour and was full of phrases like, "How many times do you have to hear me say that I like my life?",  "I am happy", and "We are done."

He asked me why I would continue to even want someone who said those type things to me.   "Because I know you love me deep down" was my pitiful reply.

My email address is on his blocked list and he doesn't read my blog.   I found out today he is "against" blogging and doesn't see the point.   He seemed surprised that people other than my friends actually read this.

All the things I ever gave him are gone, thrown away.   It seems the only thing he's saved was the antique map I gave him for his birthday last year.    Why does that devastate me?   Perhaps because so much of what I gave him was my writing.  I don't want my words or my heart cast aside.

I suppose I should be happy he is doing what he feels to be the right thing.   I don't advocate affairs, as a matter of fact, it might become my life's work to preach against them, but in my heart of hearts, I did everything I did out of an honest belief that it was true love and we were meant to be together.   Naive, I know.

When asked about the truth of everything he ever said to me, the "I love you most of all" and "I will always love you",  he said he lied.   He told me that the truth can always be changed.   That just sounds like a ridiculous quip you find in a stale fortune cookie.   How convenient for him to be able to change his truth, alter his stance to better suit his current needs.

He admitted feeling bad about causing a path of destruction, but was mighty quick to add that I was partially responsible.   And I am.  I never thought otherwise.

But I am boiling mad that he seemingly will go on with his life, business as usual, while A and I are left to pick up the slivers and shards and shrapnel.  You see, I told A just about everything,  for better or for worse.  I respected him enough to feel like he deserved the truth.   We speak openly and frankly about the affair.   S told his wife that he loved me, but pretty much left it at that.

She doesn't know the things he wrote, that he told me he loved me most of all, that we had sex, that we talked for months after she thought we'd stopped.   None of it.

Maybe she doesn't need to know or want to know.  Ultimately, it's none of my business, but yeah, I'm pissed that his life is almost back to normal, while mine is ripping at every outgrown and busted seam.

Of all the things he said though, the most unnecessary and unbecoming was that I have the emotional maturity of a 14 year old.  That was so unlike him and deeply hurtful to me.   I think it hurt most because I know I can be immature (see yesterday's blog), but I thought he loved me and understood how I was.   Again, he proved that my idea of who he was really wasn't as accurate as I once thought.

It's over, I know it.   I banged my head against that wall and it hurts.  Most likely, I'm one concussion away from permanent brain damage.   I know for sure my heart will never be the same.

What I don't know at all is how to move on.   I haven't figured out how to not let a loser make me feel like a loser.    I've done amazing things and I shouldn't have to read my laundry list of accomplishments, but rejection makes me feel SO low, no matter who it's coming from.

I didn't want to say goodbye today.   I didn't want to hear how he's compartmentalized and moved on.   How he doesn't think of me anymore and wants and expects me to do the same.   But I'm mature enough to know that life isn't about getting what you want.   Obviously. 

Someday, I pray I look back on this as a beautiful chapter in my life where I learned an amazing lesson.   Maybe him breaking up for good will end up being the best gift ever.   Right now, it doesn't feel that way.    Right now I want to crawl into bed, hide under the covers and never get out.

His parting words to me were "Have a happy life and take care."

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 73; Cruel Summer

I'm sitting in Dallas' den, laptop perched precariously on my thighs, trying to decide what to do on this beautiful, hot, summer day.

On a whim, I jumped in the car yesterday to drive to her house for her birthday.   In years past, becoming a year older has thrown her into a funk of colossal proportions, but amazingly, this year, she is in top spirits. 

She lives about 40 minutes from where S lives and works.   Being at her house, sleeping on her couch, reminds me of the nights I spent here in the past year and a half while S and I were together.  He'd know I was in town, we'd text back and forth or email, we'd even talk on the phone as often as we could .  And then, at some point during my visit, we'd meet up and spend the most bittersweet, all too short, time together.

Today, it's been 59 days since he and I communicated.   I read a break-up book once that said give it 60 days and in that time, you'd be well on your way to moving on.   What a load of crap.   Whoever wrote that book never did time in this crazy, beligerent, determined heart of mine.   I have but one day to be over him.  Right.

I'm pissed that her house now reminds me of him.

 I'm pissed that I want to jump in the car and go drive by his house just to see if he's outside mowing.   So sick.   I'm not 14.   I'm 40.   Isn't there supposed to be a wealth of wisdom and maturity that comes with mid life?  Once, one balmy summer night while high school, my best friend and I did a "drive by" of the guy I was in love with at the time.  As we pulled into the alley behind his house to turn around, she backed into a telephone pole.   Such humiliation, mortification even.   I'm too old to be contemplating such ideas.  

I'm pissed that I gave him my all and he rejected me.  I'm pissed that I still love him like I do.

I need to be strong, I need to move on and let go and yet, here I am again, the broken record, the broken hearted.

Does every heartache hurt as much as the one before?   At 40, I'm experiencing my first break up and I wonder if I'd gone through something like this at 16 and then 20 and then 24, etc  if it might get easier with time?  At least I'd have some idea of how to DO it and not feel so ridiculous, helpless, and overwhelmed.

So, here I sit.   Wanting to act 14, needing to act 40.   I'm afraid my heart doesn't know it's proper age.

"Young at heart"....what irony, huh?   Alway striving for that, but for now, today at least, I need my heart to feel the age it is, 40 and slowly, so slowly, on the mend.

What a difference a year makes...

Friday, August 6, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 71; PMS, Journals, and Lottery Tickets

Crazy thoughts zip through my mind like a hummingbird flitting through a flower garden.   Sometimes, when I drive to work, I dream about taking the overpass north, to drive to where S lives so that I can waltz into his office and see the look of surprise on his face.   The car always steers eastward toward work, towards reality.

My thought for today was that I might should start keeping a journal for and to S.   In it, I could write all the dark secrets, poignant and probably pitiful memories I've stored from our time together, all the hopes I'd pinned on our future.   At the least, I'd have a safe, private outlet for these relentless thoughts that don't seem to be going anywhere, much less away.   At best, my life would end, hopefully after many years of living fully and some unsuspecting granddaughter would stumble across a tome of love letters, both poignant and pitiful at once.  She would share it with her sister and they would weep for the love their grandmother knew, so briefly, but so deeply.  I love my imagination sometimes.

Today's entry would be:

I think I want to start a journal, just for all the things I want to say to you but can't.  

It'd go like this:

August 6, 2010

Dear S,

I must be PMSing.  I keep crying, oh, about every 2 hours today.   The tears will fall and then something will distract me and I'll feel a bit better.    It's gotta be PMS.   Right now "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" is making me cry.   Why?    It can't be BJ Thomas, although his voice certainly
is smooth and sexy when he says..."cryin's not for meee".    Maybe it's the cheesy horn interlude, that's enough to make anyone cry.   Maybe it's the Robert Redford connection?  My mom did love him so.

Maybe it's because every goddamned thing in this world somehow reminds me of you.  

It started with this song that I heard randomly on the radio.  Willie's voice and the words,  "If you had not have fallen, then I would not have found you..."   I suppose you are the angel.   You flew off.   But did I find you or you me?  Oh well, matters not.  Bigger life questions to ponder.

At the grocery store today, I smelled the Old Spice Pure Sport.  Ridiculous, I know.  But it makes me feel happy in a really sad way.   My throat clenched when I smelled it, like I had to gasp a bit for breath.  Still the grocery store reminds me of you.  We shopped together on the phone a lot...I could multi task, remember? 

We are meeting with a bankruptcy attorney soon.   We're broke, really broke.  So broke that when I paid for my groceries, I was afraid my card would be rejected.  My other one was twice.   I don't even know how to be poor.  Images of me having to choose between my hummus and my reduced fat feta cheese flashed before my eyes.   Egads!!  Either way, I knew I had to have my extra long, overnight maxi pads.  Those bitches were staying.    But, yeah, we are so broke we can't get a divorce yet.    Limbo a little longer.

I saw a little, old lady at the store buying a lottery ticket.   I thought about buying you one (yeah, I still think things like that) and I couldn't remember your numbers.  19, 24, 27??  I can't remember.   You're slipping away, things like that, and I can't...I just can't let that happen.  

I almost call you about 20 times a day.   I want to hear your voice again.   Do you know why I don't?   I'm terrified.  Petrified.   I never dreamed I'd be scared of you.   But, I am.   What if you sound like a stranger to me?  Or worse, what if you are mean to me?   What if you don't talk to me?   So, I don't call.  Even on my loneliest days.  Even when there is no one I'd rather talk to but you.

There are so many little things I'd say.  I have so many things to tell you, to ask you, to talk to you about.   I'm not even mad at you.

I miss you.   I love you.   I always will.

I suppose the last thing I'd write is..."Wow, you're wife was right.   I guess I
am a big loser who just sits around all day writing emails or in journals."   Damn, hate it when people peg me.

Hoping you are well,

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 70; Depleted

Not writing for four days has caused a backlog of thoughts and emotions to jam in my mind. 

"Where did I leave off?  What has happened since?  And how do I feel about it all?"  are the questions pushing and fighting their way to the forefront.

How can so few days seem like ages, especially given the constant nature of time?

A is back at work and I feel anxious.  Within the next few days, big decisions need to be made about our business.   One phone call that must be made is to a bankruptcy attorney.  Yes, we are looking at bankruptcy and I'm not sure how I feel about it.

Naturally, I'm worried and never dreamed we might end up bankrupt and as 50% owner of the business, I definitely have a vested interest.

But in so many ways, this business bankrupted us years ago.  

When A decided to quit his six figure job, I wholeheartedly supported him.   I've believed in him all along.  When I think of A, I do not think anything remotely along the lines of failure, quitter, slacker, etc.   I just can't and don't see him that way.

But this business has drained our finances and what I fear most is that it has depleted our emotional resources.   The long hours it demanded took A away from us.  When he did get back home, he was exhausted  and his way to relax was to spend time with the kids.

Yes, I realize I sound shitty complaining about a man who works too hard and spends too much time with the kids.  Most wives would feel so lucky.   And I thought I did too.    But in those years, we repeated a pattern that we'd established first in college, then again in grad school and lastly, with this business.  

In times of great stress for him, he retreats.  He works first to solve the task at hand and somehow, our relationship falls to the bottom of the pile.  I don't think we are uncommon in this, but I do feel that over our 22 year history and given certain life experiences, we couldn't weather this again.  Something had to give (hence the affair, which I fully admit I was wrong in doing.  I should have talked to A about the unhappiness).

I'm not mad at him, nor am I disappointed.  I feel like he's done the best job he knew how to do.   He can't take the blame for the economy bottoming out just as we locked ourselves into this tremendous financial, emotional, and physical commitment.  

But, I am sad.   I hate the thought of his dream failing.  I hate the thought of his dream being such a dynamic part of what wedged us even further apart.   I hate the thought of him having to dip time and time and time again into all of our hard earned savings, plus those of the kids, to put back into this business for it to possibly fail anyway.

The timing of my mid life crisis is another blow.  He already feels like a failure with the business, add his marriage to the mix and what he must be experiencing is horrible.

I'm nervous waiting to find out what he's found out.  I'm anxious to know our financial future, if at the very least, in the short term.

We have kids to feed, bills to pay, life to live.    I want to know our plan and what we do next.

Ironically, when we do talk bankruptcy, I sort of get a bit of a hopeful feeling.   Could the end of the business mean a brighter future for us in terms of his stress level and time constraints or freedom?  Would he be a different person once that burden was lifted?   Or would the sting of taking that risk and failing (his words, not mine) be too strong and we'd be living with someone who was miserable?

I don't know.

What I do know is that no matter what happens to us as a couple, he won't go through any of this alone.  

And in the end, we really will all be fine.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Finding Forty; Day 60 something; Beachy!!

I'm at the beach with no computer. It's been pretty good so far, I love my friend I'm with.

I SO want to write more, but hate typing on this iPhone.

I feel strong and good. I don't necessarily need A to make me happy. I'm good.

Miss you!!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 66; The Voice

We are off later this morning for a few days in the sand and sun.    I want to be able to blog, but we don't have a laptop, although we are trying to borrow one from a neighbor.   My connectedness will be iffy.

Just because I'm busy doesn't mean I don't have anything to say...

Stay tuned for titillating tales of arguments, jealousy, tears, bankruptcy, failure, ex girlfriends!   Couple that with love, resiliency, determination, and the continual search for the truth, however it manifests itself.  I really can't wait to sit and write, hopefully with the sound of the surf luring my words to fruition.   In the meantime...

Yesterday, while replying to another's blog, I came across a Shel Silverstein  poem that smacked me in the face and left the most beautiful sting.

The Voice

There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long,
"I feel this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong."
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What's right for you--just listen to
The voice that speaks inside."
Shel Silverstein