Thursday, May 26, 2011

Finding Forty, Day 357; Robin Round

Today I had an interview for a 4th grade teaching position.  They wanted someone who was strong in writing.   Um, hello?   This would be my dream job if there ever was one for teaching.

It was a committee interview, round robin style with the folding chairs organized in a circle.   Hot seat anyone?

Every time I crossed my legs in my Republican wanna be, safe and conservative, stuffy suit, I worried that the Round Robins might catch an unsavory glimpse of my scuba certified Spanx underneath.

I employed every leg cross known to mankind and quite possibly Kate Middleton, once she masters the Royal Wave, that is.

Well meaning friends and family have already asked how it went?   How did it go?  Well, to begin with, it went clockwise.   The questions that is.

The teacher to my left began and then we went around, like a very predictable game of Truth or Dare for at least 2, maybe 3, rounds.

Funny how about 20 minutes in the salivary glands go through an impromptu, involuntary shut down.   No amount of swallowing or rapid attempts to produce saliva help.   Insert weak smile here in hopes that the up curve of the facial muscles might release a bit of juice to whet the fast talking, over exemplifying whistle that is getting a workout.

But seriously, how did it go?  I should officially know in a week.   There were definite moments of connection and humor, with them laughing at jokes I cracked.   And yes, I felt comfortable enough to crack jokes.   There were also moments where I faltered a bit over answers and now wish I had the chance to word them differently or highlight other elements of my strengths.

And yet, it's over with.  Done.  Too late now to truly make a difference.  I've made my mark, left my impression, hopefully deep enough to sink in and resonate.

The thing is...I really liked this group of people who interviewed me.  I WANT to feel like a part of their team, somehow who contributes to in a meaningful way.   I know that girl is me.

As I type, my fingers are crossed.   I promise to keep you posted!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Finding Forty; Day 356; Found

The birthday has come and gone.   Before I fell asleep Monday night I toyed with the idea of blogging, but decided that the beauty of finding oneself certainly involved freedom.

I felt free to let the writing simmer until the right moment emerged.

It just has.

After a busy day, I walked into A's house (*our* house) to find him sitting at the computer job hunting.   Starving, I was pissed off that he hadn't even started dinner, knowing my day had been stressful and harried.

With some positive self talk and reminders about what is important to me in life, I went to him and said, "At some point tonight, I'd really love to visit with you."   Sugar coating?  Possibly.  But that was the actual truth.   Yes, I wanted dinner ready, but I am fully capable of preparing that.  What I can't do is fabricate great time spent with A.   So, I asked for what I wanted.  I have the freedom to do that.

But what truly prompted the writing tonight was a statement A once said about me during the heat of one of our many discussions since the affair.

He said that I hadn't truly known love in my life for if I had, I wouldn't have done such things.  His words stung in the moment, but resonated deeply.   Was he right?   Wrong?   I was left searching, although I knew instantly I'd known love with my children.

But tonight, as I started dinner and waited for a free moment with him, I realized how loved I really am.

On our eldest's son's bed was a huge box.  It was full of clothes for him that my dad and sister had bought and sent his way.   A few weeks ago I mentioned that he thought is current clothes were "dorky" and "too small" and the very next day, they pooled their money, my sister went shopping, and this box of clothes was delivered.   It was so reminiscent of the generosity my mom used to bestow upon us, in times of need or not.   Within minutes, I was weeping tears of joy, sadness, longing.   I missed her but was so happy to feel her presence alive through my sister and my dad.

I sat down at the dining room table, texting her, wiping my tears and reflecting on my day.

After school today, a co-worker who used to be a recruiter offered to give me a "mock" interview to help me hone my skills.   It was at the end of her work day, when I knew she had places to be, but instead she sat down and helped her friend.  

Also at A's house, on the kitchen counter today, was an envelope with my name on it.   I opened it with curiosity and a slight bit of worry.  Was it a bill?   Something I'd neglected to take care of in this crazy time?

The letter unfolded and I discovered that it was from my friend down the street.   I once tutored her son a few years ago and she had taken the time during work today to write a letter of recommendation for me.   I was moved again to tears.

A says I don't know love.

Here is what I know.

Love isn't sneaking texts in the middle of the night or when you excuse yourself to the men's room.   It's not promising one thing but never delivering.   Love doesn't forget that you have children.   Love doesn't only talk about himself or you.   Love encompasses the good, the bad, the ugly, the unemployed.

A was wrong.   Or if he wasn't, he is now.

I know love.

Finding Forty has found that she is, indeed, truly loved.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Finding Forty; Day 348; Mirror, Mirror

I lied.

The drive home from my sister's house is closer to 5 hours.   The roads wind, but don't seem to be as magically tree lined as I recalled on my way there.    I think I had my snapshot moment of reuniting when I arrived back in town, but I can't even say for sure.

I do know that as I drove home, I fast forwarded through the sappy songs and focused on getting to my final destination as soon as possible.

A is my bubble.  When I push myself out of that iridescent, mesmerizing realm of security I flail.  I knew that the faster I arrived home, the sooner I could be engulfed in that filmy, bulbous, room of safety.   Whatever that might mean.

Arriving home also brought work stress and worry.   I feel like my days and nights are engulfed with stress over my job.  The dentist yesterday suggested many things, including a mouth guard, muscle relaxers and botox as a last resort to alleviate all of the tension I carry in my jawline.   For now, because I'm poor, I'm working on self awareness and relaxation techniques.

Yesterday, I emailed R, my best friend in Chicago (who I honestly feel like I haven't talked to in months) and as I signed off on my email, I realized I had essentially written a blog.  I know I felt like I would be remiss not to share the honesty here.   And with that, here is where I am tonight as I gaze into the mirror of who I truly am.

Dear R,

Is the detox and B12 stuff going okay?   I'd be scared to see how I check out after the past few years.  I have a dentist appointment this afternoon and I'm worried about that.   Stress is a killer.
My weekend was alright, mostly good.   We had the couples massage on Sat.   It felt good, as most massages do, but I'm always left with that it?  afterwards.
So, my real issue is A.   Things are good and I can envision wanting a future with him, but he is being so very guarded it is hard for me to tell if he's into this (the reunion/me) or not.   I know I cheated on him and have a ton of work to do to mend his heart and rebuild his trust, but it all feels VERY one sided right now.  I am physically affectionate, verbally supportive, very much "acts of service" in terms of doing THINGS for him (chores, helping out, etc.)....all trying to show him how sorry I am.   And I WANT to do these things, but not forever if there is nothing in return.   I can't be in a one sided relationship, no matter how scared/hurt he is.
We talked about this a bit last night.   He is very conflicted.  Part of him feels like less a man for letting someone who treated him like I did back in.   The other part of him loves me and is a loving person and therefore wants love to rule.   He is still unsure he can do what it takes to make me happy.   I tell him that my idea of what I need for happiness has shifted and until he shows me the unguarded him, I can't tell if he's able to make me happy or not.   I feel like I am patient enough to ride all of this out until it just doesn't work for me anymore.
There is less animosity between us.  He says he forgives me and I believe he does.  He knows I am truly remorseful and I made sure to ask for his forgiveness last night.   I've said I'm sorry a million times, but I'm not sure I"ve ever actually asked for his forgiveness.   So, I did.  
He says he wants me to be happy, but him happy too.   Can we both be happy together?  That is still left to be seen. being with him or wanting him a compromise on my part?  Am I selling out?   I'm not sure.   I know that when all that shit happened in Houston and I felt painfully, horribly misunderstood  and alone, the only person I wanted and who I knew would understand me was A.   I know there is a bond with us that goes deeper than the fact that we are parents together.   I see that happiness and peace is a slow burn, not an explosion of fireworks in a few fiery bursts.
I guess what I am wondering is if he even WANTS to be with me?   I can't derive much joy or happiness from him.   It's almost like he's numb.   Having said that, I think he's past the part of pretending.   He's pretty much got a What the fuck attitude about so much lately, I would think that if he weren't into "us", he'd have no part of it.  He's actually said as much, that's he isnt' doing anything he doesn't want to be doing.   Maybe there's a bit of him that is sort of enjoying the near groveling on my part. ;)
I know I"m rambling.  This is all very confusing.   
Added to it all are these ever so slight nagging feelings about S.   I don't envision a future with him, I just play those stupid..."I wonder if he's thinking about me?" games in my head.   "I wonder if he remembers my birthday is coming up?" ....stuff like that.    "What if I NEVER talk to him or see him again for the rest of my life?"....Ugh.    I suppose I would be fine.
I actually SEE and BELIEVE now that people DO, in fact, survive broken hearts!!   I can put him away (most of the time) and just let him sit on shelf in the dusty corner of my heart.

I'm sorry for rambling,

And so there you have it.  I realize there is some backstory that might be hard to follow, but mostly I wanted to express that despite my growth about S and my awakenings about A, I am still the same, old, confused me I once was.    

When I look into that mirror, I still am not quite sure who, in fact, I see. 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Finding Forty, Day 339; May Issue

The road winds as the miles tick by.   In places, the trees shroud the path, beams of sunlight shining through.   Inside me stirs a nostalgic feeling of wistful hurt and longing.   Everything around me is so beautiful, the meadows of yellow wildflowers, the puffy white clouds against the blue of the sky, I feel this wave gathering momentum within me and I am helpless to its power.

I've always been able to view a moment in time as a snapshot of my life.   Quite possibly it's a curse.   Wanting my life to feel like the glossy pages from a Martha Stewart Living magazine or a scene from a movie has been the downfall of me.

As I make my way through the Texas countryside towards my sister's house, I am painfully aware of how much I long for happiness, fulfillment, all those moments that could be plucked from my existence and inserted into a classic, chick flick.

Four hours of nothingness can't be helping either.   The further east I drive, the more static I find on the radio.   To ease the boredom, I put my earbuds in and fire up the iPod.

The shuffle on my iPod seems a mischievous partner in crime to the scenery and my wandering mind.   It's as if every part of my surroundings are messing with my psyche.

For the first time in months, my mind slips and I think of S.   This is the time of year our affair blossomed.   My birthday is looming and I wonder if he will think of me and remember that day we spent together two years ago, still, sadly, one of the best of my life.     That familiar feeling of having my heart ripped out resurfaces and I am at once sobbing into the nothingness of the empty car.    Anger replaces the sadness and I breathe deeply to regain my composure.   He isn't worth this energy and this amount of emotion.   

I can't think of him long though without thinking of A and how wonderful he is.   In every way that S let me down, A has been there for me.   We have been emailing and texting while I've been away, which is a really big deal for us.  A isn't one for texting and I like that he woke me up at midnight with that ever inane question, "What are you doing?"   Yesterday, he even asked me to send him a picture of my cleavage and curves and I did.  Nice.   There is a flicker, maybe more, of a chance with us and I love this  feeling of newness we are sparking.   I can't wait to see him again.

How is it that I can be so drawn to two totally different men?    And why is it that songs have such an overwhelming effect on me?

I've cried  a lot while out here at my sister's house.  She had surgery on Friday and I am staying to take care of my nephews.   My mom's house is less than a mile away, but we won't go.  She's not there, not here, nowhere I can grasp.   

I think that has much to do with my melancholy.   It's more than just S and A, or my sister's surgery.  It's that it is Mother's Day and mine is gone.    I'm homesick for her, homesick for A, missing my  kids, etc.

I know that life isn't a still shot from a magazine.  I know that movie scenes are carefully scripted, directed and highly edited.  Real life isn't always pretty, nor perfect.   But wanting moments that I can hold on to as special and beautiful, that will always be me.  Even the ones that can never be duplicated.

Moving forward has been hard for me after my mom's death, after the end of my affair,  even now as I move forward with rebuilding my marriage and finding a new career.   But if I don't move forward, I stagnate, falter, fail.   For most of this past year, I have been miserable because I was fighting myself, fighting reality, resisting change and growth.

I do see the changes I have made.  I'm not going to beat myself up about letting thoughts of S creep in.   They did and probably will again.   It's what I do with them that matters and for now my plan is to acknowledge them, maybe have a silent cry, wipe the tears, breathe and move forward.   

I'm not going to obsess about things with A.   We will text and flirt, deal with the realities of parenting together, work towards understanding one another better, even after 23 years, and continue to move forward.  What will be, will be.

I still have my drive home tomorrow.   The roads will again wind, the trees will loom, the sun will shine as the clouds dance across the sky.   My romantic mind will wander to and fro and I'll spend the hours daydreaming.  I will probably cry a time or two as well.  That is just who and how I am.

But when tomorrow's journey ends, I will pull into A's driveway and walk into the house to receive hugs from the boys and A himself.   In my mind, I'll take a picture and freeze this frame.   This issue of my magazine life will be as close to perfect as we can pull off.  At least it will be for me.