fits and giggles

For as long as I remember, I’ve just wanted to be loved.  While I have been loved in varying ways throughout my life, there has always been this immeasurable hole that never seemed to be able to be filled–no matter how much someone said they loved me.

I’m a meaning maker–a connection seeker–who really just wants to be seen and to see.  That’s the gist of who I am and what I’ve always done.  My main motivation, always.  And while I’ve loved the men I have been involved with, I’ve never felt that deep sense of belonging that I’ve always sort of ached for.  I wanted to–desperately–but at the end of most days, when the lights were out and he was sound asleep next to me?  I’d walk out to the couch or set up on the floor instead of settling in to him.  And he probably never even knew.

I was always afraid that me just being me–even in sleep–would hurt him somehow.  So I went back to being alone in the ways I do.

###

Yesterday, he told me I’m a hole poker.  I’ve been called Chuck Norris before, so the concept wasn’t lost on me or even much of a surprise.  The way he said it and how he said it?  It fit.  “Oh, yea.  I am.”  Made sense.  Because I had done it this week.  This beautiful man tells me how much he loves me, and instead of just accepting it–I tell him why he shouldn’t.  I tell him about all my bullshit.  And worse?  I try to protect him from it.  But like me with him–he just wants to know me.  And he actually loves me.  The person I am–not the one holding up the entire world.  All the holes.  All the crap.  He just wants to see me.

My ex told me something like this once, and the way he said it stung.  Actually made me do it more.  Made me test him more.  Because I felt us unraveling, I guess.  Even as I told myself some other story that I wanted to believe more.  The way he said it was mean.  And I felt more unseen than I ever had been.  Instead of helping me open up, as he probably intended in his comment, it made me close up tighter than Fort Knox.  Mostly because the way he said it made me feel like he had no idea who I was or why I was like this.  I was just some fucked up girl he couldn’t love.

It was different this time.  Because there was empathy.  An–I get it, and I love you anyway.  A please don’t do this anymore.  So, I heard him and started the work again of being present instead of debunking.

This whole relationship feels like healing from the damage of my last major ex.  I don’t think I realized how much that relationship broke me until I starting loving this man.  But I’m grateful for it because I am not that woman that other man didn’t love enough anymore.  I am a woman deserving of this love, and that’s kind of stunning.

###

I am actually hopeful about this.  Sure about it.  Serious about it.  Happy.  Because I fall asleep with him.  My arm is still up, but it’s coming down.  I feel safe.  We just fit.  He is just as silly as I am, but achingly sincere and forthright.  We struggle together and are better together.  I want to crawl inside a little ball with him wrapped around me forever.  Sometimes, it feels like we share one big heart.  I don’t need to fill up the entire Universe with words.  I can just be there with him in the dark.  Just me.  Just him.  None of the crap I’ve always been.  It feels completely different from anything I’ve known, and I’m just sorta amazed that this is actually mine.

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me, too

So, many of you might be seeing these posts on social media today from women in your lives. Some people explain what it means. Many don’t. What is it about? Well, we are sharing that we were either sexually harassed or assaulted in our lives. There are varying degrees of that. And if you’d like to have conversations about these things, I’m open to it. But mostly, I just want you all to be aware that these things happen every day to women just like me who did absolutely nothing wrong.

letter to a someone, 2017 edition

Mr. You–

Hi.

It’s been a couple months since I first became aware you existed.  You started the clock then, and we haven’t gotten sick of each other yet.  I don’t think we will.  Somehow, we’re here–in spite of all of the obstacles and shit we’ve gone through to get here.  Every day, I look forward to saying good morning and hate saying goodnight–even though you’re usually so cute and groggy that I oddly also look forward to it.

Finding someone to love, who somehow (miraculously) loves you back?  Sometimes, it feels like some kind of goddamn miracle. Of course, loving someone is just the beginning of the story.  There are layers to scavenge and holes to plunge.  Knowing someone and loving them for a while takes guts and time.  And it can be hard.

Years ago, I wrote this thing on my blog–not to anyone in particular, really–but it was a way for me to cliff note who I was for guys who wanted to be someone to me.  A way to save time, mostly, because that’s my way.  So, this week has been one of those magical weeks that have left me smiling like a ninny.  This good thing that somehow showed up in the darkness I was living in just a few weeks ago.  You.

Maybe it’s silly to write something like this…maybe I should just tell you to read the blog–as I did when Mama died.  But meh.  I’ve never done the conventional/wise shit.  So here’s your crash course in me and how I am sometimes.

  • I am terrified of most everything, but most especially? Myself.  I rarely, if ever, trust myself–and I will always seek confirmation from someone that I am doing the right thing.  But I am actually getting better at this.  For years, my Mama was my sounding board for everything.  If I ask you for your opinion, I’m usually just trying to figure out what I feel about it–by gauging how you feel about it–because I respect you.
  • I sometimes make choices based on fear, but I am the girl most think of as brave because I constantly face my fears–even when I’ve faced them fifty times before.  The fear I’ve faced the most?  Heights.  I’ve been challenging it ever since I was a little girl–climbing up on slides and jumping–screaming “Wonder Woman” so I wouldn’t be so afraid.  I’ve done things like skydive and bungee jump, but I don’t know if I’ll be doing them again.  Still scared.
  • Speaking of that word–people think I’m brave, aloof, and a goody-goody–despite all my efforts to convince them I’m not.  So maybe it’s actually true.  I kinda hate that.
  • I am an intensely honest person, but it’s a constant commitment for me and one I’m stubborn about.  Mostly because it is such a hard thing.  I believe having hope and being vulnerable is the bravest thing you can do.  For a very long time, I had no idea who I was or what I actually felt–and I certainly couldn’t express it or stand behind it.  I don’t want to hide anymore, and I don’t want you to hide either–mostly because I know that suffering.
  • While you should always listen to what I’m saying, pay closer attention to what I don’t say.
  • I still blame myself for a lot of things, including both of my parents’ deaths and the suicides of other friends.  I tend to immediately assume responsibility when things go wrong, and I am excellent in a crisis.  I have a savior complex.  And I am a hard core perfectionist-in-recovery.   All of these things torture me, sometimes.  Usually during grief season.  A big anniversary is coming, and I am steeling myself for it.  Still.
  • I often need space.  While I will shower you with affection and will want frequent contact, I always want the option of little contact and time alone.  I know you’re like me and that loving someone the way we love can be this seemingly hopeless juggling act.  But I will support you in setting boundaries for what you need while doing the same for myself.  I know it just makes us better.
  • Large crowds make me hate life.  If I hole up in my bed, it’s not because I’m depressed.  It’s usually because I need to think.
  • I frequently indulge in what I call Introvert Paradise. It’s supremely geeky.  Maybe, one day, I’ll let you visit this enchanted place.
  • I can watch cooking shows, design shows, makeover shows, murder/court shows, and bad reality television all day every day if I let myself.  I often let myself.  Save me.
  • I hate riding in elevators with people and have been known to push the close button just to avoid it.  This probably makes me a bad person.
  • Sometimes, I will be overcome by giggles.  I swear I’m not drunk or high or tired, even.  It’s just me.  Note: cheese, candy, and lotions often inspire such things.
  • I am a writer–not by choice, either.  I hate that I’m a writer.  I am grateful for it, but it’s also hard on me.  For years, I took an extended break from it–except for blogging–which I never deemed real or good enough.  What this means is that I think too much, am slightly–okay, fine–crazily–neurotic, and a bit of a voyeur.
  • While I’m a hard core introvert, I actually love people.  I like watching people and listening to them.  While I don’t always enjoy my interactions with some of any city’s brand of crazy, I do always learn from them–and I do enjoy chatting with most people I meet.  I actually need these interactions, and sometimes, you may have to kick my ass and get me out of my hermit cave.  I will love you more for it.
  • I miss my Mama every single day I’m able to wake up, in varying degrees.  It never ever goes away.  I don’t think it ever will.  I do not know what will trigger that suffocating feeling of being lost.  It comes and goes.  Certain months (like December) will be filled with it.  When I am sad, I will probably not tell you–though I’m better at that now.  But you will feel it because it will hang heavy in the air.  I am not good at hiding emotions anymore, thank God.  I will probably eat a lot of takeout then.  Sometimes, I’ll be quiet and will lay in my bed for hours–reading self-help shit that probably makes your eyes roll.  And, mostly, I will not let you comfort me until I completely break down–though I will want you to and will accept it if you do.  And, when I do, I will cry so hard that my entire body will shake.    But I won’t cry that long.  When I stop, my eyes will be so puffy I won’t be able to see and I won’t be able to breathe.  And I will hate it.
  • I am extremely restless and will often feel the need to go somewhere–some somewhere that I cannot name–for no good reason at all.  I am currently in a crisis state of restlessness.
  • I am NOT a hermit (mostly), but I can be scarily introverted.  I am content to stay home–and I’m definitely a homebody.  However, nothing delights me more than connecting with random people.
  • I love to cook and will cook you anything if you ask me to, but keep in mind I do go overboard always.  And it will probably take a long time.  And I may burn myself and cut myself.  But the kitchen will be spotless when I’m done.
  • I desperately want a sous chef and an intern.
  • I am a survivor.  I have an unshakable will to live and to heal.  I will likely give you lots of homework and will probably share big revelations with you and research all the shit that hurts you.
  • I am an information sponge.  I have so many tabs open that my computer always sounds like it will explode.  My wish lists are miles long.  I am always sharing ideas or stories or things I love.  I want you to love them, too.
  • Art is so important to me.  I am often moved to tears.  That includes books, movies, etc.
  • If you want to make me cry, get me a gift or make time for me.  I don’t even care what it is–no, really.
  • I am not a religious person, even though I’m Buddhist, but I do believe in miracles and angels–only because I’ve witnessed them.  I am fascinated by religion in terms of its social construction.  But I’m the religion I am because I’ve lived my life and that’s what makes sense to me.
  • I’m nostalgic as fuck, and it may be embarrassing.  I will make a meal just because my Mama made it for me when I was 12. My favorite dates are ones where I share my life with people.
  • I am a fucking activist.  I fight for what I believe in–including us–and rarely give up on things once I care about them.  I will riot in the street and risk my life for what I believe. I’m extremely open-minded, however, and will only argue with people who attack me for my beliefs.  I always understand opposing views and fight for the opposite’s side to be heard, too.
  • I’m loyal to a fault, and I hate that about myself.  It has hurt me a lot over the years.
  • I am learning to love Christmas again, but I will likely never want to be around more than a couple people during the holidays.  This still makes me immensely sad.
  • I am ridiculously obsessed with Halloween.  I become the biggest kid, even though it’s smack dab in the middle of grief season.  I love it because it acknowledges the darkness.
  • I am only a neat freak when it comes to bathrooms and kitchens.  In either case, you should stay out of my way if chicken’s involved.
  • I have a very thick skin about most things, but I get upset and sensitive when someone questions my intelligence.  I am actually surprised by how much this hurts me because I usually don’t get upset by attacks.  But that will always do it.
  • When I’m really mad, I tend to yell and slam doors.  I have a way of cutting people with my words, and I’m very good at hurting people badly–so I usually leave if that’s an option.  If it’s not, I will almost always suggest time outs.  It takes a lot to make me angry, thankfully.  You should only be afraid if I stop talking.
  • I can be a grumpy bitch sometimes–especially if I’m sick or hungry.  I apologize in advance.
  • When I’m sick, I get very needy and will require hugs all day long.  I also will be feisty and annoying when I start feeling better.
  • I absolutely hate being tickled, but apparently this is funny.  It’s also funny to make me angry, too?
  • I have an uncanny intuition and usually rely on my gut instincts to guide me.  I may be a little psychic.
  • I have an addictive personality.  But I have never smoked in my life.  I don’t drink that much, and I’ve done very few drugs.  I never wanted to become my parents.  But I recognize these things exist in me.
  • I am sometimes a jealous person–but not in a smothering, possessive way.  It usually only comes out when I’m in a difficult relationship or if I’m struggling with myself.
  • I am sometimes selfish.  I care about what I have, and when I was little, I didn’t hav much, so sharing was big.  I usually am generous, though.
  • I’m not into open relationships.  I don’t like sharing my someone.  I don’t trust anyone easily.  I can, and have, forgiven cheating.  But I will not forgive dishonesty or cruelty.  I’d never entertain a threesome simply because I’d cut a bitch. I have a hard time being attracted to others when I like someone.
  • I forgive very easily, if I get an apology, but it will take a while to heal the relationship. If no apology happens, I will still forgive, but you probably will never be an active part of my life.
  • I am hyperaware of my health.  I’ve personally dealt with a lot of shit and still go through trauma related to it.
  • I’m a goddamn hippie.  I hope you like crystals and incense.
  • I adore my pets and will cut anyone who hurts them. They are my family.
  • I have an intense need to be seen, but I hate being seen–hate being looked at.
  • I’ve miscarried before, and I often wonder if my Mama’s history of infertility will be something I’ll share.
  • I would rather hang out with kids or animals than adults any day.
  • I am extremely confident about the things I can do, but extremely insecure about who I am.  I will never call myself sexy or beautiful or a hottie–unless I’m joking.  And I hate being called cute. It’s a thing.
  • I’m the most stubborn person you will ever meet.  If you tell me to do something, I will challenge you.
  • I’m a tease.  I’m a flirt.  I love pushing boundaries, unless they matter.
  • I am a listmaker and often spend too much time on plans I later throw away.  Spreadsheets and to-do lists are crack to me.  I color code.
  • My spontaneity is extremely random and jarring to most people who know me.
  • I’m an extremely sensual person, but I think that’s surprising to most people because I tend to be a bit too subtle unless you’re the one I’m screwing. I really do have a reputation for being innocent.
  • It took me a very, very long time to be a sexual person.  It’s a very vulnerable part of who I am.
  • I’m a hopeless, hopeful romantic who believes in love to an insane degree but also is terrified of it.  I have alway balanced optimism with insane cynicism.  But I consider myself an optimist–who overanalyzes.
  • I question everything, and I will push you–hard–sometimes–and test you–hard–and I will ask dumb questions simply because I don’t have a filter like most people.  I don’t read certain things like most people.  I’m always looking to confirm that I’m on the right track.  People have mistaken this for many other things, and well, it’s me just trying to understand.
  • I expect the worst case scenario, and I plan for it. Obsessively.  And then I throw out the plans and go with my gut.
  • I am way too much for a lot of people.  I’m overwhelming sometimes in terms of how much I love people.  I have been involved in many one-sided relationships, and I will never accept it again.
  • I love to make people happy, and sometimes, I overdo it.  Like a lot.
  • I am an orphan, but I don’t want to adopt your family.  Maybe the opposite.  Being independent is a big deal to me.
  • There is nothing you can’t talk to me about.
  • I need security, but I hate it too.
  • There is nothing worse than me dealing with failing technology.  You will hear much cursing and probably laugh at me.
  • I am not a PMS-y sort of girl, but I need all the junk at times.
  • I have a crazy memory that may actually scare you at times.
  • I write alone. Mostly because I cry and I hate crying in front of people.
  • I really, really want someone to take care of me.  Which is weird because I’m independent.  Not because I require it, but because I just need it.  It’s the orphan thing.
  • I am such a communicative person, but my face is maybe more expressive than all my damn words.
  • I pay attention and see all the things most people miss.  Sometimes, I won’t reveal that I noticed.  But I did.  Believe that.
  • My curiosity will kill me one day.  And that might be okay.
  • I love questions.  I love answering and asking them.  Nothing delights me more.
  • I love letters and long, protracted voicemails.  If you don’t leave a voicemail, it actually kinda offends me.
  • Gummy bears will fix nearly anything.
  • I appreciate being told I’m an idiot–in a nice way.  I will never, ever be a “yes” girl and don’t want you to be a nice guy or a yes guy.
  • I do not care how your hair looks or what you drive.  But I may try to spoil you sometimes because you deserve it.
  • I will judge you if you take longer than me in the bathroom.  And please smell good.

Love you.
Me

petty

This past July, I spent about 2 weeks meandering through the streets of San Jose and the adjacent little towns/cities (?)–trying my darnedest not to feel like some newb alien girl.  My roommate had the radio station tuned to some abomination that these folks call radio, and I made it my mission in life to find a decent radio station before my time was up.  Back home, in Denver, I was spoiled by the best radio station in the world (KBCO, if case you’re wondering).  What made KBCO great was they played an abundance of popular stuff alongside really old stuff and mostly unknown artists.  I used to love to listen and discover music that maybe I missed or that no one knew about.  Van Morrison, Stevie Nicks, & Tom Petty were mainstays–holding down the fort with their dependable brand of tunes.  These artists were always a part of my life, though.  Every happy day included a few songs from them, and I knew all their songs by heart.  Especially Tom’s.

I remember that hot as fuck day in July, driving around–looking for a goddamn Starbucks–just wanting some damn iced tea–wanting to do a good deed–and being lost as all get out.  I finally found a radio station that didn’t make me want to stab myself, but they played far too much Imagine Dragons.  So I was more than grateful when an old friend appeared.  This song.

I remember rolling down the windows, driving probably too fast (as is my way)–singing my heart out–and finally seeing the elusive Bux.  I had done this exact thing so many times, on dozens of mountain roadtrips.  This music had always been mine, and for a second, I felt like I was still me.  Even though I was here.

###

There was something about Tom.  About his sad, weary eyes and his gentle voice paired with his layered lyrics and infectious riffs.  Above all, he was a storyteller.  The people in his songs were outsiders who didn’t fit in and knew they were meant for something more–something else–and life often kicked them in the gut.  He told stories about people like me.  There was always a bit of humor and a bit of badass to these stories.  The music was about standing back up.  It was about telling the truth.  And it was beautiful and sexy and fun.

I remember this music was always in the background everywhere I went as a kid.  It was always next to Elvis and Cash in our home.  Every single happy day in my life, this was my soundtrack.  It was music that could send you flying down a highway, hoarse from singing along.  Lyrics that meant something with a beat that made you move in your seat.  It was hopeful, but only because the narrator had seen some shit and come out somehow alive.

I knew nothing about Tom’s story until my late 20s when his music became even more important to me, getting me through terrible relationships and jobs.  Then I found myself listening to interviews about his life.  About his childhood–one that was a lot like mine–and I found myself identifying with him.  He respected his audience above all else and wasn’t afraid to be himself with them.  I admired how he stuck by his art–but moreso the process of creating something from nothing–and how he advocated for other artists.  He inspired me to do the same for myself and my peers.  The idea that an artist is an activist was especially important to me this year.  His music, again, got me through the darkness by acknowledging its existence and raging back with its allegiance to flight.

###

Yesterday was hard.  But not in the way I expected.  When you’re approaching forty, life often feels harder than it needs to be.  Some of us have lost our parents–or are starting to–and slowly, as time goes on, our heroes go too.  Those people we thought were immortal.  The ones that transcended space and time and showed us who we were. Artists are especially dear to me, I’ve found.  They help me access the person I was when life was simpler.  Maybe not good–but that is still mine.

Whenever someone’s heart just stops, I think of my Mama.  Well, I think of her every day of my life–all day long.  That is not new.  But I specifically think of the day she died, and my heart breaks a little more because no one needs to die like that.  And that was kind of what yesterday was: one wave of needless suffering after another.  But then I remembered I could still sing along to that lush chorus, and I had another day in the sun to look forward to.  And I decided then that I’d honor that suffering by ending my own as often as I could.  And I could do that by accessing the gifts that man gave the world.

Thank you, sir.

the great fires

Before we discuss the topic at hand, I kinda want to let y’all know something.  I’ve really tried to shy away from sharing huge specifics about my love life (because it’s not just about me & what I want to share), but I do try to keep y’all in the loop because I do like to discuss shit that comes up for me in those relationships.  Love is fertile ground for me in terms of learning about myself and how I want to be in the world.  So, that said, while it’s still very-very-very new, I’ve met someone I’m pretty smitten with–and he’s an infp.  It’s a bit like looking into a mirror at times, which is actually fairly amusing.  We laugh so much, and he never tires of my crazy stories.  My logic makes sense to him.  There are some obstacles, of course, but I’ve been enjoying his company.  He makes me feel special–which is super rare for my relationships.  So, if I seem a little lighter these days, I probably am.  I had basically given up any hope of finding even a strong friendship out here, and then this person showed up in my inbox.  I’m not sure what will happen, but I’m certain it’s all good, and I’m just taking my time enjoying what is.

###

I’ve always been a huge believer in the idea that your mate should inspire you to be your best self.  They should support your dreams, but also make sure you’re being true to yourself.  If you change your mind about something, that should be okay too.  They should want to understand you and want to be there with you for all the great things and the horrible things.  I’ve had a lot of men in my life who were one or the other or they couldn’t allow me to change my mind.  I’m a fickle girl–prone to massive about faces–so this flexibility is pretty important to me.  In the end, this is all about loyalty.  You may not understand my thought process, but you respect that I know what’s best for me…even if it makes you wonder who I am.

I try to be like that myself.  In fact, as an infp, maybe my downfall is that I am too supportive.  My other downfall?  I see the good–and potential for greatness–in everyone.  Seeing that greatness can be hard because, if someone isn’t ready for that greatness I see, it can be frustrating to watch them struggle.  I want them to be themselves and to be truly happy–so seeing them not see what I see irritates me to no end.  And I can get this malaise of disappointment because of it.  It’s a little unfair, and I’ve been guilty of pushing people in ways that are not supportive.

I share all of this with you guys now because I realized today that I do this to myself, too.  I know–deep in my bones–that I’m destined to make a big difference in the world.  I recently came through a period that I can only describe as a dark night of the soul where I literally wondered if I was a good human being because I didn’t want to make a career out of rescuing people.  It’s been a long lesson for me–and a devastating realization that maybe I’m not who I thought I’d be.  But I knew I’m capable of great things, and that my lot in life is not just to make money, work, and retire.

I’ve always known I am a writer.  Always.  It’s my therapy, really, and it’s the way I connect to other humans most deeply.  I often struggle with sharing who I am with people in person.  I had a sort of a-ha moment about that recently when I realized I hadn’t really been me the entire time my last serious boyfriend lived with me.  That constant requirement of intimacy caused parts of me to go into hiding–so I’m sure I felt very different to him–and he was just getting the surface shit I normally serve up when I’m being polite.  Then my life sorta tailspinned, and I couldn’t let him in.  No one’s fault, really.  It needed time, and had we had that, he would have been let in.  But that deep, painful intimacy most relationships need takes a while for me–especially when I’m licking my wounds.  The truth is–that year was just the start of a multi-pronged realization that I wasn’t who I thought I was…that I didn’t want what I thought I wanted…that what I thought was good and healthy wasn’t healthy FOR ME.  And welp, I’ve now done that work.  My last therapy appointment was so positive.  My therapist was so complimentary and so impressed with the work I mostly did on my own while we were on a short hiatus.  She was proud of me.  I was proud of myself.  Strong.  In a vulnerable way.  Still terrified, but fully owning who I am.

So, here I am with this blank slate.

I can do anything.

This makes me cry.  Like Mama dream tears.

I’ve always wanted freedom.  As a little girl, my life was about obligation and duty.  And I was happy to be all about that if it meant those I loved were okay.  But it wasn’t okay.

I’ve lost literally everything about that old life.  I feel like I’ve been burned alive, sometimes.  But who I am–who I really am–is still here.  And who I really am is someone who writes.  Someone who watches.  Someones not bound by anything.

The past several days have been kind of healing because–after all that introspection and tearing down bullshit and reasserting boundaries–I was given this gift of sharing who I was with someone who really valued it.  Who wanted nothing from me except to know me.  I told him so many stories, and I realized how much I fucking missed that.

I miss sharing what most people forget.  I miss sharing the people I used to know.

So, I’m working on some things to create that life–that free life full of what I love.  It’s going to take a lot of hard work, and it’s scary as fuck–but it’s mine.  I know it.  More mine than anything I ever worked for.  And like fresh love, I’m going to let myself meander–find my path–figure it out.  No rush.

I’ve always been in a rush, so this is going to be different.

I have a couple stories I’m writing in the meantime.  Both of them, if they ever see the light of day, might get me burned at the stake of public opinion.  One of them is about terrorism from a perspective most never have.  It’s going to be a real stretch for me because it’s WAY out of my comfort zone.  But I know I have it in me to do it, and if I write this thing, it can really change perceptions.  It’s going to ask some tough questions about good and evil.  It’s going to be unflinching.  But more than anything, it’s going to be about human beings doing the best they can.  No boogeymen.  No fucking monsters.  Just two little boys I knew once.  The other one is going to be something I’ve wanted to write for a very long time about women–about my experience as a woman.  And it’s going deep.  It scares me to write it mostly because it’s shaking out all my BS and looking at it up-close.  I think both these projects may be years in the making.  I’m still setting up my French scenes, but I’m excited that I’m back, knee-deep into what has always been my home.

I think it’s going to be a good autumn/winter.