Monday, January 24, 2011

Finding Forty, Day 240; Flipping Pages

Seven days pass, a lifetime, a nothingness, a blur.

I am happy tonight.   Adele is soulfully singing to me through my ear buds.   It's not yet 10 p.m. and I'm snuggled into my bed (alone) and feel content.

The original apartment plan fell through last week, so I spent the greater part of Saturday apartment hunting.  Not being a communal dweller for over two decades, I was dejected and overwhelmed most of the day.   Finally, as I grew wearier by the minute, I asked the locator to take me back to a complex we had looked at earlier in the day.   Originally, I felt it was just a hair out of my budget, but then it hit me that the apartment came with a washer and dryer (full size) in the unit.   When I factored in the cost of buying those either new or used, I could justify the cost of rent.   Yes, I will be strapped, but hopefully soon A will be gainfully employed and can again help with our family's finances.

The boys are excited.   The amenities are appealing to them and the apartment is about a mile from their house.

  I shed tears on Saturday as I got cash from the ATM to get my money order for the deposit and application fee.   I called A, one more time, to confirm this was truly in our future.   Again, yes was his response.

At the complex, as I answered all the standard questions I texted him to see if he would be my emergency contact.    My rock in my time of trouble, he's always been.   He was the reason I was able to push through, literally, all three of our kids' births without any pain medication.   If I  knew he was in the room, I felt safe.

Now I'm leaving him in his own room, his own walls as I strike out on my own.   It's scary, sad, and exciting all at once.

When I think about walking through my newly cleaned apartment in early February, I know I'll cry, but I'll also laugh to myself at the craziness reality of my 'new chapter', as my best friend R says.  

I'm an avid reader.   Voracious, all my life.  New chapters have always been exciting, especially in the books that grip me.  

I can't wait to flip my pages.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Finding Forty, Day 233; My First 15 Minutes

Half past right
The house is empty still
 Yet you are here

Unlaced running shoes
Discarded in haste
Guard the front door

Your damp towel
hangs forlornly
From the rod in the bathroom

Your aftershave wafts through the bedroom
Giving tell tale witness
To your passing presence

How can I miss you so
When you've only just gone?

I emptied my bedside table and my chest of drawers this morning.  I have four Rubbermaid bins packed, as well as two wicker baskets.

I found a sheet of notebook paper and scribbled on each side were two poems I'd written for A.   I don't remember when, but I do recall why.

This is why I'm immobilized, fearful of what's next, grieving deeply what was.

Days pass
One night melting
into the next
New dawn
Time tick tocks forward

Yet somehow within
the blur that was yesterday
is today and will be tomorrow
You remain constant

With a steadfast smile
and a love untainted
You are my homing angel
My refuge

Our love, once new and emergent
Now wears the patina
of a well adored relic
And occupies a special
niche in my heart

Here's to a lifetime of love
and ever afters

Happy Anniversary

Finding Forty, Day 233; Linger

Once, after S and I made love,  I felt immediately shy and embarrassed by my nakedness, my body, my vulnerability.

  We were standing in the bathroom and he turned me towards the mirror, held my hands down by my side so I couldn't grasp to uplift my breasts or try to cover the tributary of stretch marks adorning my belly.

"Look into the mirror," he said.  "Look at you and how beautiful you are, all of you.  All of you.  You need to open your eyes and see the truth."

 I awoke this morning sometime after 5 from a dream about him.   Lately, when he enters my dreams, I feel a sense of urgency to garner his attention, to keep him around, to get him to stay.   In the dream today, we somehow ended up sitting at a table and before me were piles of envelopes, cards, a project.  As I sorted through the goods, I saw a packet for an upcoming run.   Running was something we shared, loved to talk about and even did together twice.   In the dream, I wanted to invite myself to do the run with him and then realized he was already running with a large group of friends and family to raise money for a charitable cause.   He had handwritten many letters and envelopes to try to solicit donations and interest. Below the pile of running information I also found birthday party invitations for one of his niece's.   Apparently he and his wife were going to host a party for her at their house.   I got up to go find him a bag to hold all of his things and by the time I returned, he was gone.   My dream ended with me scanning the parking lot for his red truck, which obviously, was nowhere to be found.

Maybe dreams are just dreams.   Perhaps they are just random, weird, thoughts that bind themselves together in the darkness of the morning and the corners of our minds.

Yet I can't help but wonder if I'm not still standing naked in front of that bathroom mirror, afraid, insecure, frail and this time, the person behind me is simply me.  I am holding myself up, lifting my chin, looking straightforward at the emerging person before me and saying, "Look at you.  Look at the truth, see things for what they are."

What the truth is is a person who is lonely, but not alone.   Somehow I need to make the switch to embracing alone, but letting loneliness fall by the wayside.   Somehow I need to see my truths for what they are, the good, the bad, the ugly, the real.  

Today I won't be immobilized with fear.   I will take the advice of well meaning supporters and start small, 15 minutes at first.   And when those seconds have ticked by, I will reassess and try to add on another 15 minutes.  I won't even worry about which task to tackle first, I'll just work and do and be.

I'm not at home in front of the mirror just yet, but I'm not afraid anymore to just cast a sideways glance and maybe let it linger a bit longer than before.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Finding Forty, Day 232; Tides

I have a friend who calls me Forty.  I like pet names and my favorites are Lou and Sweet Pea, but I'm not getting called those much anymore.   I never thought of myself as "Forty", not even on my birthday last May, but today, as I read the title of this blog, I finally felt the impact of what this journey has been all about.

Finding me.

And have I?  

That question brings a silly smile to my face.   No, I haven't found me, am not anywhere near that as best I can tell.

What I am discovering though, are all the things I don't like or that don't work for me.   It seems I mostly realize all of this through trial and error, with great emphasis on the error part.

I've made so many mistakes, particularly in the last few years, you'd think I'd be mortified and barely able to slink out of my house.   But what good would that do?   The best I can do is own up to them and do my damndest to just let go.

You can't take a mistake back.   There isn't a way to undo what has been done.  All you can do is acknowledge and move on, breathing deeply, steadily, and then do your best to not ever make that same mistake again.

I'm a slow learner and I know it's not because I'm stupid.  I think I just have a very hard time accepting reality, for better or worse.

So, where does Forty find herself today?  

On the one hand, I feel strong and hopeful for something, although I cannot explain or verbalize what that something might be.

And yet, I'm immobilized with fear and apathy.    I think I'm moving into an apartment on February 1.  I will be sub leasing from a couple who need to move out.  The lease term will be 9 months, which seems sufficient time to see what's around the bend.   But I've yet to really hear back from them and begin working on ironing out the details of the lease.

 I can't get motivated to pack a single box, to sit and weed through the contents of my past life and decide what stays or goes.    The task seems insurmountable and I'm not sure how I will ever find the fortitude to push onward.

And so I sit and look for furniture on Craigslist, or surf the internet looking at 2 bedroom condos in the hopes that buying might be a better alternative for me than leasing in a huge apartment complex.

Sometimes I check out divorce sites and start trying to make a list of what all needs to be done in that area.

I've tried playing with my finances to make a budget.

But then I get this overwhelmed, exhausted feeling and my throat feels like it's closing shut.   My eyes well with tears and I find myself escaping into music, or food, or mindless t.v. or conversation with the nearest set of ears around.

I've always been scattered, never able to truly focus on a linear set of tasks.   If I think of the big picture, I shut down.

I know I can break things into smaller tasks, but I don't even know where to start.

And I haven't even begun to think of what needs to be done with our personal finances.    

I look at A and wonder how the hell we got to this point.  

So, how to figure out what I want?   I guess by continuing to compile my list of don't wants, to keep moving, doing, thinking?

I'm not really sure.

I feel like I've gone from blessed to messed.

Surely, at some point, the tides will turn.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Finding Forty, Day 229; Awakened

Twice in the last week I woke up crying, barely able to breathe, my heart racing.   Both times I awoke from dreams about A.

In the first, he and I were riding in a car, him driving.  As I watched his hands on the steering wheel, saw the profile of his face, I heard him tell me that he was going to visit an old friend, a woman he used to work with.  I've never met her, but I remember him emailing her in the aftermath of me admitting to the affair.  I think she must have been single, attractive, accomplished in his white collar world and immediately she was a threat to me.

In the dream, as he told me he was planning to travel out of town to visit her, I remember asking myself, "Okay, Kate, how does this make you feel?"   As far as I could tell, I was somewhat alright with the news. But then, I asked, "So you two have been corresponding?"  and he replied, "Yes, we've exchanged quite a few emails."

And that was when I awoke, feeling sick and upset.

You see, A never responded to my emails.  They'd sit for days in his inbox, sometimes even months and that broke my heart.  Dreaming that he would actually reply immediately to another woman and also continue to write her back broke my heart.

Two days later, I wake up and find myself crying out loud, tears running down my face.   In this dream, which is less clear to me, A is leaving, going on a trip with our youngest son.    I'm begging them not to go and then asking them to at least stay in touch.  As I lean over to hug them goodbye, I can feel the wall between us, the distance, the cold.  

Some might say they are just dreams, but I have my own theory.

In sleep, when my thoughts are finally free from the constraints of my need for control and order, they roam free.  My subconscious mind takes me places I can barely dare to tread in the light of day.  

I've begun to think of it as therapy.   My dreams bring forth topics that must be addressed but that I might never have the courage to summon otherwise.

A is moving on.   He is distancing himself from me, not out of hatred or malice, but to protect himself.  I understand that.   Moving on will eventually mean reaching out to someone else.   Honestly, at this point in time, I cannot fathom him with anyone else.   But, I cannot imagine him with me either anymore, so I can't hold on to him or something that isn't working.

These are painful realities to accept and I believe the softest way to begin understanding all of this is for my mind to bring it to me under the guise of slumber.

I haven't told him any of this.   It's been a very busy week and we are doing well with some of our harder conversations simmering on the back burners for a while.

In time, there is much to be discussed.

It seems I can only really handle a little at a time.   Despite going through the motions and beginning and ending each day with as much purpose and joy as I can muster, I remain profoundly scared and sad.

But I haven't given up hope.

I've not blogged in so long, there is more to tell, but work beckons.

Tonight I hope to be back with the more of this story.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Day 222; Faking It

I woke up grumpy today.   R, my best friend, tells me to be careful on days like today because whatever energy I send out into the world is what I will receive in return.

Sometimes I jump on board that logic, other times I want to yell, "bite me!"

Today was one of those days.

I found myself thinking of Katrina Kenison and her quest for a simply, splendid, ordinary day and realized my upper lip had curled into a snarl.

My ordinary day today consisted of ripped tights, 4 zits on my face, pants that barely buttoned around my blossoming mid line, crazy ass work day where I felt less than sub par, and a harried trip to the grocery store in which I forgot two of the most basic staples of all, milk and eggs.

As I left work this afternoon, I thought I might head to Ikea because they are having a sale.   In less than a month, I will vacate my temporary abode at my friend's house and rent a nice, two bedroom, two bath apartment just minutes from A and the boys.

For the first time in my adult life, I'll be living on my own, like a big girl.   Okay, yes, I moved out last summer (twice, actually) to the apartment I rented.   But it was different.  I absolutely did it believing that S would meet me there every other weekend and we'd spend blissful hours under my stark white bedding.

This time around there's no S and there's no A.   There's only K.   Me.   And it's weird.

Walking through the cavernous aisles of Ikea I was overwhelmed by the enormity of what lies ahead.

I was sad to be there alone, having only ever really shopped there as a couple with A or for items to share with S.

This time, knowing my purchases would be for me and the boys, I was at a loss.

When I think ahead to the apartment and getting to furnish it just as I please, I do feel a twinge of excitement.   I know I can't afford much of anything right now, so my plan is to go slow, only spending money on things I absolutely need and/or love.

I guess that is actually a good thing, but it's quite hard to feel that way about it now.

This morning, I texted A and asked three questions:

"So we are really staying apart?"

"A 9 month lease is okay?"

"And that apartment seemed okay?"

The replies that popped up were:




Sometimes it's hard to fake finding an ordinary day like today beautiful.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Finding Forty, Day 221; My Ordinary Day

I've just closed the pages of a beautiful book, written by Katrina Kenison.  It's called the gift of an ordinary day and reading it has moved me, stirred my soul.

Kenison's premise is simplicity at its finest.   Her words are whole milk with a warm cookie, soft kisses on a flushed cheek,  tiny fingers wrapped around your hand and your heart.

I read her book cognizant on many levels.  As a writer, she makes me yearn to follow my art, my heart.   As a woman, I understand her mid life longings.   But it is as a mother where she truly speaks my language.

The message in her latest book is to savor those mundane, quiet moments in life.   The ones that go unnoticed, barely perceptible, but just so happen to be the most breathtaking times in our shared existences.

I've been told I think too much, that I'm too sensitive, and perhaps I am.   But if that's the case, then so be it.  I'm not changing that about me.

I keep being told that I can't find happiness until I know full well what I want.   Perhaps.  But knowing everything I want, in this moment, seems impossible.

What I do know is that I want to feel everything.  I want to stop and recognize my ordinary moments.  I want to receive those gifts.

I've been fighting my ordinary days lately.    Driving to see my kids for a handful of minutes or hours after work each day has left me bitter and grumpy.   Being in the house where they were conceived and almost birthed makes me sad and lonely.

But rather than fight my reality, I plan to embrace the gifts of these ordinary days.   I can step into that house and inhale their smells, feel the dust on the tile floor under my feet, even find joy in folding their boxer shorts and marveling at how close in size they've all seem to become.

There are gifts aplenty.  Today I called spelling words out to my littlest one while he circled me on his bicycle.   My oldest son, a full 3 inches taller than me, came back to the car tonight after walking away to hug and kiss me, and my middle son, so guarded and quiet, will always let me squeeze his soft cheeks.   That he lets me hold his head pressed tight into my chest just a wee bit longer than he'd like is a gift.

My reality tonight is a pair of large, gray sweatpants.   I'm not thrilled that even yoga pants feel constricting, but I will revel in my comfortable spot on this couch, a fancy new laptop perched atop my legs to help me convey my innermost thoughts.

I could cry everyday about the state of my life, the reality that I gambled everything and in the end lost both men I loved most, that my mom, my confidante is gone, that I look nothing remotely like the woman I was a year ago, and that my babies fall asleep with their sweet, sweaty heads on pillows that are fluffed halfway across town.

Katrina Kenison has given me the gift of recognizing an ordinary day and finding the  inherent beauty in it's simple nothingness.     Smoothing a wild patch of bed head, nagging a bit about the whiff of unbrushed teeth, rounding a corner to find a son drinking milk straight from the jug, forgetting to feed the guinea pigs, these boring, simple moments are where I will focus on finding and enjoying the now.

So, with a sharp reminder of how quickly the past is gone before we know it and a mindful eye to the well being of all our futures, I think I'll stop and smell the roses that are blooming all around, underfoot, right here in the garden that is my life.

I feel abundantly blessed.