Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Togetherness/Aloneness


Being with someone versus being alone. As I  traverse this journey, alone at the moment, I hesitate and reflect on the differences. There are many many things I miss by being alone. Another's touch. Another's conversation, another's quiet breathing next to you at night, the dip in the bed from their body. Another's laughter, jokes that make you laugh out loud and feel good. Gifts, I miss gifts from another, the time they take to pick it out special for you, wrap it, surprise you with it and look to you for a response in the giving. Hugs, kisses, fuck I miss kissing.

Some say being alone becomes easier, almost a way of life you get used to and comfortable with replete with perks like choosing your own movie to watch or playing your own music loud with no worry you are pissing off someone else. All that freedom to go and do whatever you want whenever you want with no one to answer to or consider. No one to have to curl your hair for, or wear your uncomfortable clothes for. No one to hear words from that hurt you.

I have thoughts about aloneness verses togetherness (especially recently when I heard a man I don't know said I have a real sadness about me). Ultimately I am a person who needs to be with others. I am an extrovert, I feed my soul around others. I am not a person who yet enjoys her own company, at least not most days. I also realize, and it is not a happy realization by any means, that I fear I will be alone until I like being alone, and worse, that I will not have sex until it doesn't matter anymore. Not that sex is the only thing about togetherness, it isn't, it is just one of the bigger things when you are alone, or for me it is. And to think that you will be without it until you don't care anymore is sad. Just one of those thoughts, like the one I had after Terry died where I feared I would forget him and our life together until it didn't matter anymore because you had to get on with living your new life. Did that man pity me or have empathy? The difference is important to me.

Is this healing from grief?

If it is I want no part of it. I do not want a life I never asked for, to become comfortable, complacent and content even happy in a choice I didn't pick for myself. I want to run from that, kicking and screaming. But you can't can you? Oh you can fill your life with empty meaningless togetherness, one night stands, friends with benefits, but that is not what I am talking about here when I speak of togetherness. I am talking about someone to cook in the big kitchen for, or to come home to them cooking for you. I am talking about fucking wanting to curl your hair for someone, and having that someone worthy of it reciprocate your feelings of wanting to be together. Togetherness, a hard task indeed, especially for a women my age. On the other hand, I think humans are incredible beings who are resilient and adaptable and able to overcome the most incredible losses and rise above their shitty life circumstances whatever they may be. But what about if you can't despite your desire and best effort?

And here is where I am stuck.

If I am totally honest with myself I am stuck, and have been for awhile now, stuck between this place of togetherness and aloneness. I fill this purgatory as best I can, albeit most days with unhealthy habits, discontent feelings and daydreaming of a better tomorrow. I hear others speaking to me through this limbo I am in with their kind words of encouragement, you will not always feel this way, you will be happy again, you will have sex again, you will find someone. But it misses the mark. These are kind but empty platitudes, a poor consolation for a warm embrace with a person you are actually together with.

Is this yearning part of healing from grief I ask?

So writer of your life story, how to set the next chapter? How does the protagonist escape her purgatory? This is where momentarily this writers block comes in. I only have experience of a year here (most of it discouraging or worse) much research is yet to be done on how this plays out. The protagonist grows weary and more discouraged with her attempts, with the passing of time, with the seeing of true togetherness in others. I will say it again-it's shameful and hard to admit, this aloneness, but pity is not the desired result. This writer is much too strong to stand pity from others, it's the worse response.  Be angry for me, hold me where I am at, but don't pity me when you see my sadness.

Until she writes out the ending to her story, maybe grief looks like just staying stuck sometimes. Holding oneself in staying stuck. So sing it to me Janice and I will listen and be happier.

"Oh sit there, ah go on, go on
And count your fingers.
I don't know what else, what else
Honey have you got to do.
And I know how you feel,
And I know you ain't got no reason to go on
And I know you feel that you must be through.
Oh honey, go on and sit right back down,
I want you to count, oh count your fingers,
Ah my unhappy, my unlucky
And my little, oh, girl blue.
I know you're unhappy,
Ooh ah, honey I know,
Baby I know just how you feel."


Saturday, 16 September 2017

Weddings and funerals

My cousin's daughter is getting married today, down here close to the cottage. Most of my children have gathered for the celebration and joy and excitement is in the air. It puts me in mind of my own wedding, my two children's weddings since Terry passed and of course funerals. Yes the whole life death cycle, it's true how closely they are connected - weddings and funerals. We've all heard the stories about how attending a funeral makes couples want to go home and fuck. How weddings bring out the best and worst in some people.

I was thinking the other day about Terry's funeral. How many people came, how I functioned in a state of semi-consciousness, how much of it I have forgotten and how much of it I never even experienced. How does that happen? Where does it go? This passing through life unaware or missing in action so to speak.

I have glimpses of that day. I believe that major life events such as these, when not fully realized or processed, get stuck in our bodies. Perhaps they come out as aches and pains, addictions, depression and even heart attacks. It's important to get it out. I have used this blog as a vehicle to heal from his death. It is true what I have recently read that we can rewrite our stories-they can heal us. I am not talking through my hat here, research backs this up and I feel it happening. So today I explore his funeral.

My first clear memory is of my sister and her group singing mine and Terry's song, Songbird. I remember walking down the aisle of the church with his ashes in my arms, their immense heaviness pulling my shoulders forward, and my children by my side. I remember my son's speech, my daughter's beautiful reading of the psalm, her beautiful tattoo on her leg glorious in color. My grand daughter Molly's soft white sweater and bouncing blond hair, like our girls hair when they were young, and how she won't remember her papa. I remember Terry's family in the row behind me, supporting me in their presence.

I am next in the church basement greeting all the people who came, they are hugging me, I am stoic, the good widow in her new black dress, heels and borrowed sheer black top to keep my arms warm. I am surprised by all the old coworkers I have not seen in years. How did they know? I marvel at all the food, who did that? I see Terry's nephew from out west who looks like a young Terry, the rock star version of him and my heart bleeds for the love we had, Terry and I, and I miss the sex so much already right there at his funeral's reception. How will I ever do without his love?

I laugh too uproariously at a joke my brother in law makes. It's a shared personal story about a time Terry's cell phone went off in the middle of a play in a tiny community theater at the most inopportune time. It reminds me of his silliness and how I'd been so embarrassed by him then and I immediately want to cry but I hang on. This is all I remember. I look at the guest book, I saw names of people I do not remember seeing there, I am sure I hugged them thanked them for coming but I don't remember. Where did I store all these lost moments of time and condolences?

Prior to the funeral my husband sister's family asked to take us all out to dinner on the night of the funeral. A real celebration, in the best restaurant in the city, they had limos to pick us up and wanted me to invite everyone I could possibly think of who I wanted there. I thought no, it's too extravagant, then I remembered Terry telling me sometimes it's in accepting gifts that we grow the most. So I agreed. I remember the limo driver holding an umbrella over my head to the car, a wickedly chilly rainy April night. I remember thinking oh what will the neighbors think? The widow heading into a stretch limo the night of her husband's funeral. I giggled inside knowing Terry would think it's funny. We had two limos meet us there. On the ride over we discovered the limo driver was named Terry, of course he was, yes we all celebrating and Terry working. It was a sign, his nod from the afterlife to us saying I am here still serving you all.

I remember that most extravagant dinner we all shared in my favorite Italian restaurant, the back room reserved only for us. Perhaps they knew my time of grief was coming but tonight we could celebrate him before that hit me. The dishes upon dishes arrived, the drinks flowed. Toasts were made to Terry, the love of all my family. The reminiscing so heartfelt. But I most clearly remember the speech by Terry's nephew, the rock star. He told me there were two Terry's, the one before he gave up drinking and the one after he met his angel. You were that angel for him. I remember this clearly, the teams brimming my eyes for the first time that day. Feeling so undeserved of his words but knowing it to be true. It was magic, it was healing-a gift for receiving something someone wanted to offer. Our waiter took this photo of us, we are all reeling from Terry's death, the grief not yet begun for me, but you can see the love of family here. It's a clear memory of that day that I wish to carry. It was a celebration. Almost like a wedding - filled with love - during a funeral.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Girlfriends





What would you do if you had no friends? I was thinking about this today and counting my blessings about all the wonderful girlfriends I have had over my lifetime.  I am talking here about girlfriends. I don't believe your kids should be your best friends, I could never tell my kids what I tell my best friends, and it puts too much pressure on a parent child relationship. I don't even believe your spouse should be your best friend, maybe a unpopular opinion but it's mine. I think you need that "other" to bounce stuff off of, to be a sounding board to help see a tree in a forest so to speak. Spouse's are life partners and lovers and loves not best friends. Terry was not my best friend and I'll wager a bet he was glad I had best friends, he loved how I would come back from a night with them all settled and happy. My sister's were my best friends in my early years, my twin even now. Some girlfriends came into my life only for a purpose, we shared our lives and circumstances for that brief moment in time and they departed never to be seen from again. Some I work with or worked with in the past. Some are active close -all the time- friends who I rely on almost daily. They know everything, all the minutiae all what you are about and what you are going through. What they offer, man it is hard to put into words but I will try.

You get excited when you know you are going to see them, you feel withdrawal when a week has gone by without seeing them, you feel like you are living at home with a family again when they are around because they know so much about you. You have a history so you can unsay so much, yet still feel totally understood. They always boost my confidence, make me feel like I am a good person worthy of all good things life has to offer, and the sweet part is they feel this even when I don't. Oh that is a wonderful thing. To have your own cheering crowd when you personally feel like you have nothing to cheer about. My girlfriends make me laugh, real belly laughs, all those inside jokes. And then there is all that sex talk that just makes you squeal with delicious delight and laughter because they so get it. They don't make you blush or feel stupid just the opposite they make you feel alive and normal. They help you figure it out, they are in your corner with you, their advice has no hidden motives. I do not know why I am so blessed, I feel they give way more to me than I could ever hope to give back.

They share the bad with you too, I have a friend Cindy who made a decision to come to my house the night Terry died and she never left figuratively. Cindy's strong suit is being a friend, it's her talent, her passion. Coming that night was not an easy thing to do, but this chick has been by my side since then. Through all the pain, grief, growth and change in my life since he died, sitting by while I cried and told the same story over and over, she made that decision to be there. I didn't ask her, oh I needed her but I didn't have to ask, this is the type of friends I have. I have a friend that is so damn funny, she knows just what to say to make me break out into raucous laughter, and it's clever - oh so clever her wit.  One friend I have known almost 42 years, and we still meet and chat, she now family and we have all those moments in time to reminisce, all that herstory. Recently I started finding male friends, a whole new perspective and dynamic, but fun, so much to learn because I have never had male friends, not outside of my girlfriend's spouses.

What would I do without them in my life? I do not know. I might not be here to know. I have pushed people away, been so angry and depressed I couldn't stand myself yet my friends stood by, thank fuck! I read somewhere that social support is one of the key indicators for surviving a loss and a life crisis. Not money, not a job, not a good therapist, but social support. Are you loved, are you cared for, are they there at the ready for you when you need them? Where my friends are concerned the answer to this is yes yes yes.

What would you do without friends? If I look backward I still remember my first girlfriend, Donna, she shaped a lot of my budding personality between the age of 10-13, some of it good, some bad. She was the first girl I found my imagination with, my love of writing bloomed from her, the first girl I saw naked, the first I saw drunk, the first I smoked with, the first to betray me (none of this sexual by the way). As I look forward I think as we get older, there will come a time when we won't have any new friends who will know us as long as our current friends do. It gets harder as you get older to be out there in the world making friends. We become a little bit more insular more greedy with our time as we age. I can't imagine meeting a new girlfriend and knowing her for 42 years (I won't live that long most likely). I know people who do not make friends any more because their time is running out. That is sad. I want to always have friends, my old ones, my new ones I have yet to meet. I relish in the joy I had and have with my girls, always. I thank the universe for them, I am so blessed because of them. Who else can bring up a topic of discussion that goes on for three hours until it's covered to death, the lesson learned, the world made right again and you sent off into it to flourish?

What would you do without friends- I never want to know.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

I had a question



I had a question, left open to stew
yet, I have forgotten it
but it lingers, ever present there in the mind
it taunts me from below the surface

I seek and search for it
in essences of human gestures and words
I try to look quick into the 
periphery of life to catch it unaware

Still it eludes me, this question
perfect in meaning and grammar
sitting there on my tongue's tip
that perfect question, unremembered

Like a light bulb beside my head
dimming in the waiting for her
to get it, to ask it, to answer
all of it's unconscious yearning

Patiently I wait for it to come
in a dream, another world of understanding
this perfect life question
this perfect life answer

 

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Autenticity


When we do something new or foreign it is scary, this is at least always my first default feeling. Unknown territory holds so much unknown everything doesn't it? I hesitant, then jump, free in that fall-into-obscurity for the time being. Perfectly innocent to ramifications and repercussions, authentic in spirit. It's a grand feeling this brave new world you risk for. Be it learning how to drive a standard, the fun to get the pedals performing in sync, the terror of the roll backward into traffic, the embarrassment of the stall when you pop the clutch, the glee when you push her into fifth on the open road. Or the adventure to a foreign country to meet new people riding the jet engines into takeoff on that most precarious first 10,000 feet into the clouds, bumpy, slightly vertical, that sinking feeling as the engine adjusts and you wonder if free fall is next. Uncharted pure and hopefully anticipation of the new experience.

Lately, I have been pondering authenticity. In my words, in my actions, in my journey forward. It's not as scary anymore to step into newness when you have authentic motives (can you even have authentic motives?, isn't authenticity just that -authentic. No motives?) no bullshit, no underlying hidden agendas, no good or bad intentions- just authentic you. True to self you. In my past I covered up a lot, I questioned myself and others in everything I did or said or thought, looking for meaning and purpose. When you don't know yourself well you don't know how to be, you fake your way through, but when you are self aware you know how to be and better yet, you want to be authentic in all new things you venture out into. At least this is what I believe. However, saying that I have also come to know that just because I believe something doesn't make it true. Let's just say it's as true as I can be today, my authentic self does not fake it's way through, it does not lie or live in false pretenses.

So what about venturing again in the dating world in this authentic way? What about encounters with those who are not? And the lesson to learn from this? Because hey I am always looking for a lesson. In this new dating life, before I took a much needed break, I encountered men who told me they loved me three days into a dating scenario. Does this mean they were lying when they broke up with me a few days later because I was "too different"? I met men who said they wanted a second date and never called again or ignored mine, I met men who said the sweetest things only to then say the nastiest hurtful things that would curl my hair without the rollers.  I have known men who lied their way right to the latest possible second where they couldn't anymore-their sham revealed- and then they asked for me to listen to their explanation! Ummmmmwtf  ???

Authenticity. Where is it and why is it so hard to find? In this new world where we we can hide behind screens and words, in a world of fake news and "inauthentic accounts" there is a whole generation who do not know the meaning of true face to face honesty. I have been there, I get it, it's hard to be totally honest especially if it is going to maybe hurt someone's feelings. I guess I am at a point in my life where I realize that inauthentic words and actions are hurtful in and of themselves, and only to yourself.  I was talking to a dear friend last night about being who we are and where we are at in our lives in a face to face conversation. Fuck it was so freeing to discuss this under no pretense, no hidden agendas. This is what I have come to know in my years of knocks and life samskaras, and it has made me stronger, not weaker -be authentic first, let that always be my first intention.

As I head back into this journey of dating and as I meet new people I will not put my heart back under my sleeve, I will say how I feel even if it means rejection, I will surround myself with authentic souls to learn from them. Is it scary? Sure it is, I will meet more inauthentic men but I know I will recognize them sooner, I will grower even stronger with each encounter. Luckily, I will remain friends with those who are authentic. And yes I await this journey-as my authentic self.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Selfless


This weekend seven of my dearest cousins and my brother-in-law gave up their Saturday of the long weekend to build a deck for me. They worked their butts off to create a thing of beauty with nails, wood and concrete blocks. Selfless creativity at it's finest. Not only does this give me a practical platform to have my morning coffee on, to gaze into the crystal clear ocean bottom below, to catch the sunrise and sunset and moonlight on each day and night for now until the rest of my years, but it gave me insight again into being cared for and how that feels. To have a community of individuals all come together and do this for the sole purpose of making me happy blows my mind. That they did this, although they gained no benefit from it themselves, except to hopefully feel good and get a warm fuzzy because they were selfless for a day towards someones greater good- awes me.

I will be enjoying this deck, me, my kids, their families, my friends and people I love, will benefit for years from that one day they all sacrificed. I wonder if they thought of that when they were hammering away, lifting lumber and concrete blocks, measuring and using their power tools? I wonder if they knew the true extent of their selflessness? Do people who are selfless know they are? Is it inherent in their makeup and they just go about their lives doing and not considering the impact, or do they know and choose this because it makes their heart happy? Terry used to tell me he got way more out of helping others than they got. I wonder. I do not consider myself a selfless person, I wish I had more of that gene in me but I fear I do not. Oh I do things for my family and I do so lovingly and willingly - but am I getting something in return? Usually yes I would have to say. Even if it is to allay some guilt or make myself feel better the motivation is often not pure selfless intent. I think that is very hard to do, at least for me it has been. I wish it was different but I have to say if I am truly honest my intentions first go toward what I want and desire or what will make me feel something I want to feel instead of pure selfless intent toward another.  Exceptions exist of course.

To be a recipient of selfless intent feels awesome and inspiring, it makes me strive to be a better person, to try harder to consider others before myself and to feel what others might gain by my intention or action rather than any feeling I might acquire as a result. Oh so many times I strike out but it keeps me honest-these foibles of mine. They keep me seeking for correctness and a more selfless attitude. I don't take life's lessons lightly anymore. Each misstep leads to wisdom and knowledge in myself and the world around me. Each oh I need to try harder or oh I fucked up that time is a valuable lesson to do it right next time. Because you see as I age I know there might not be a next time to make it right. So on this special Saturday as I was the recipient of selfless action I tried to express my gratitude in the only way I could. By being delighted and overwhelmed with joy and happiness, (do they realize how hard it has been for me to come by these feelings over the last few years? And because of what they did they gave me that gift? Maybe, maybe not) by thanking through food and drink, by smiling and sending positive loving thoughts to each and every one of them as they sacrificed their day for me.

When we all gathered on the finished deck to christen it at days end in the sunshine, one of my cousins wives said to me "this is so good this is so right". Maybe she got it. Terry would have loved this selfless Saturday, he was a very selfless person, also a builder of decks. If he has a way to know he'd of been smiling on us all.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Our Milky Way and lonliness


This beautiful cluster of stars and dust and matter that is our milky way galaxy. It is so incredible hanging out there alone at night in a sky filled with a billion stars, planets and other galaxies. Sometimes we get the pleasure of seeing it in it's full grandeur, when the moon decides to sleep and the location you happen to be in has no light pollution, sadly, some people I've heard have never seen it. I have had the good fortune to clearly see the milky way every summer for about the last five years. I have happened upon it on those special nights and been able to have my lens capture even more if it. To think that it has been there for eons and eons of time is amazing, yet in my short life span I have only enjoyed it for five years. Enjoyed it is a bit of a understatement. I am captivated and in awe of it, the darker the sky, the more my eyes adjust, the more perfect the timing and position of it and I am left stunned, mesmerized and unable to look away. The energy I feel always keeps me awake and I hate to leave it. All those years I missed out, sitting inside instead of out- I can't regret that, I can only change it from here forward and ensure I visit it and capture it's likeness as often as possible. It's like a little secret affair I am having with it and I can't wait for the next visit.

As much as I love the milky way and gazing upon it, it causes me to feel lonely. I know kinda of silly isn't it? And a bit hard to describe this feeling. Maybe it has to do with the infinitesimal amount of  stars in the beautiful galaxy, each one shining alone yet together in the cluster. It reminds me of a world full of people and me alone with them. Maybe it has to do with the night I first saw the milky way clearly on a hot early July weekend at the cottage.  It was late friday night, 1030 ish and my sister and her husband and my two youngest kids were heading over to the back beach to shoot the stars. I had asked terry to come, begged him, saying come on honey it's dark skies come on it will be fabulous. He opted out, too tired from work that day. I will never forget when I stepped out of the woods and onto the beach and it was just hanging there low in the sky, darkish red from the warm day, a glow to it and all its shadows visible shining like lucy in the sky with diamonds! It took my breath away, I wanted to cry, I think I did , I said oh my god look at it just look at it! I could almost reach up and touch it I swear. I thought "how had I never seen this before"? And immediately after that "oh Terry is not here to see it with me". Perhaps that is why I am lonely when I see it, he never will see it with me, like he didn't then. Or perhaps I just wish I now had a love to see it with, like all my family around me does.

Oh I have my shining stars close by don't get me wrong and I am grateful, where would I be without them? But I am my own person now in the seven billion on this planet. It is not really about seeing the milky way without a someone to share it with, I do share it with them, it's about lonliness in general and what a fuck bag of shame that causes. It is a shameful thing to be lonely, a hard thing to admit, and it is looked down upon by society-yes it's a shameful thing to be and feel lonely. Not to be alone ( many times that is good and a relief and even a worthy thing if you are holding out for one worthy of your love, it's something we even brag about, this aloneness) no, I am talking here about lonliness, wanting that relationship- not having it yet but wanting it and feeling lonely as a result-that is shameful to others, they pity you. I do not know what to do with this underserved shame but to write it out.

I am one person living my life-not a couple anymore. Not married or dating or engaged or courted by anyone. Now there is a old fashioned word, one my daughter brought up the other day on our drive home from the cottage. I was asking her advice on how she stayed single for five years and then found the right person. It's a topic I am interested in right now so we were chatting away about it, me wanting the inside scoop in how the millenials are doing it.  She said her and Andrew had decided to "court" one another when they first met. So I asked her what she meant by this and she said, it was a mutually agreed upon exclusive dating trial at getting to know one another to see if they wanted to go on to have a serious relationship. I congratulated her for being so smart. No games, no casual sex with friends or strangers cause your horney, no moving too quick, just old fashioned lets court one another and see where this goes.  We can learn things from our youngins.

Which brings me to what I learned. I may be alone, I may have many days, months even years of lonliness to come. I may hate it, I may feel society's shame over it. That is just the way it is right now.  Just because I want a partner doesn't mean I will have one. There may be many more summers of seeing the milky way without holding hands with someone to love and share the experience with. Even if that doesn't happen, even if that is not okay, that just is what it is.