Saturday, July 5, 2014

You have to start somewhere.

I did it.  It’s small.  But I did it.  I set a goal and I met the goal.  It frightens me in ways I don’t understand, but I’m happy I did it.  I went for a walk to a particular street.  That’s all I did, but man, you’ve got to start somewhere, right?

On my walk I learned... ok didn’t learn… was reminded in no uncertain terms about how out of shape I am.  It’s pretty bad.  But again… You’ve got to start somewhere.  So while lying in bed I decided to set a goal – I have a long and unhappy relationship with goals – I was going to walk to a particular cross street.  I don’t know how long it is, but it’s more than a half mile, so I knew I’d be walking more than a mile.  And the last little bit to the cross street is a solid down hill – which is great, except I was going to turn around at the street and head back home which means a good solid up hill.  In the past I’ve stopped at a mailbox just before that hill – afraid of it.  But… I decided while lying in bed I was going to go to the street.  It’s not like the hill will kill me, right?

It took roughly 5 minutes for me to start thinking about just going to the mailbox.  Whenever I “start” walking again, the outside of my lower legs will sometimes… seize up… they hurt a lot and they get rock hard. I’m not sure what it is exactly, but from experience I know that after my body gets used to walking again, that’s the first thing that goes away.  On some level I welcome the pain – because I know it will go away and I’ll have a measure of progress I can mark.  So that was going on on my left leg.  And on the right side, my foot hurt.  I had a car accident on Monday.  Just a little fender bender - that totally destroyed the front end of my car - and starting on Tuesday my right foot hurt a little.  I've chalked it up to the accident as I was 'standing' on the brake pedal with that foot at the point of impact.  It's hurt on and off for the rest of the week, but usually it's been one of those things where when I first stand up and start walking it hurts, but as I keep walking, down the hall, down the street, whatever - it loosens up and is fine. 

During my walk it hurt the whole way, but not terribly.  Enough to notice, but not so much that it was really hindering me.  As I got closer to the mailbox I decided I could make it to the street.  It was my goal and I want to learn to set and work towards and achieve goals - and this was just a little one.  Both my legs hurt in different ways, but it wasn't terrible.  I'm terribly out of shape so it makes perfect sense my body would be trying to convince me to go back and sit quietly on the couch, but you've got to start somewhere and it's just a couple blocks further down to the street past the mailbox.  So I past the mailbox, kept my head down and made it to the street and back.  Yay me.

But, by the end of the walk, the outside of my left leg had mostly loosened up, but my right foot continued to hurt and started to hurt a little more.  I turned a corner and could see my shadow and noticed I even seemed to be limping a little which I absolutely didn't want to be doing.  So I worked hard on walking steadily and evenly and not limping.  I was nearly home by then and made it.

Unfortunately, my foot seems to have continued to get worse.  I got inside and my poor foot seems to have given up.  So here I sit with my foot on ice, having ingested several advil, hoping I'll walk again.  (No, I'm not dramatic.... much).

So... you have to start somewhere - that's my new mantra.  We'll see where it leads me.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

For how long can you love a mirror?

While playing on Pint#r#st - to which I'm entirely addicted - I saw this great quote that reminded me of an old friend.

"You can't just sit there and put everyone's life 
ahead of yours and think that counts as love."

It just doesn't and it's so true and so important. 

I know people out there that think - truly deep down believe - that putting someone else's wants first, before their own, is proof of love.  Intense love.  Unconditional love.  Forever love.

I believe, however, that if you only do what the other wants.  Only do and try and compromise so that you can be whatever or whoever you think the other person wants you to be, that you are not showing love, but showing them a mirror.  For love to truly work, there needs to be give and take.  There needs to be two individual people with differing points of view who know themselves well enough to know where their own lines are.  Once you start compromising yourself... once you start going against your own gut - especially in the name of love - there aren't two people any longer as one of them fades and turns into a mirror. 

In some ways it's easy to love a mirror because everything you see is what you want, but in another way - it's nearly impossible to keep loving a mirror because there's really nothing there.  It's hallow.  It's just a mirage.  Nothing is there to hold on to, to push against, to test things with.

Knowing your own limits and your own mind and heart and wants and needs certainly doesn't mean you can't and don't compromise with those you love.  Of course you give things a try just because they want to try it - or at least seriously consider it - but you come at it as your own advocate first and foremost.  If your goal is to make your relationship stronger, making your partner happy is certainly part of that.  But doing things that make you unhappy can't be part of that, because that just means you are no longer part of the equation.  It's just your partner and their reflection.  I'm not sure what that is, but I don't believe it's an example of love - neither of yourself or your partner.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Ten Things Thursday.... (yes, I know it's Friday. So sue me.)

1) A conversation with Jason;
Jase: Mom (said with utter derision), my friend said he didn’t know what Snakes on a Plane was about.
Me and Jason: laughed out loud
Jase: So I told him it was about horses.
Me: laughed some more
Jase: on a boat.
He is so my kid!

2) I just learned my kids' laptops do not have netnanny on them.  It was an absolute requirement for their computers.  It did not occur to me that I had to make sure Dan also added it to their laptops - that they can TAKE INTO THEIR ROOMS AND CLOSE THE DOOR.  The day I learned of this Dan tells me that Tom had slept until 1:30 and I said - that's because he was up till 3 watching porn.  Dan, being uncharacteristically not smart, said - yeah, probably.

3) I can not get used to having to take Jason to camp in the morning, or to picking him up in the evening.  It more than doubles my commute time to and from work.  I’ve been late to work each day I’ve had to do it.  And I’ve made plans after work on two different nights that I can’t possibly make it to in time.  I have gotten up twice and gotten on the treadmill… but still.

4) Every day this week we’ve had tornado watches and warnings and severe thunderstorm warnings.  Some days there has even been a little rain.

5) That reminds me of a couple of weeks ago.  There were terrible storms here in MD and tornado watches and warnings all over the damn place.  I think three small ones ended up touching down.  I'm sure some of you live where tornadoes are a little more common - but here in MD it's a pretty rare thing.  We live in hurricane country, not tornado country.  But... the problem with this particular day was that my sister and I had gone down to Annapolis to go to our dad's retirement party and her husband was locked away in a meeting and Dan was away on a business trip.  My kids were at our home and her kids were in a big warehouse of a building at gymnastics practice.  My house has a basement that's half underground and we'd talked about what to do before, but first Jason calls me crying because they've just announced on TV that there's a warning in our town and he needs to seek shelter now and he's more than a little wigged out.   Luckily he misheard - the imminent warning was for a different place outside of DC.  But my sister is madly driving home while I'm scanning the skies for tornadoes we would want to avoid while reading the alerts on my phone and looking at the radar - and calling my older son and telling him where he needs to be in the house and that he needs to keep Jason with him.  (not a conversation I enjoyed having with him).  Before we got to her girls the fear had subsided as all the storms were well to our south - but that was not my favorite trip from Annapolis to home.

6) Tommy is going to camp for two weeks on Sunday and I've been encouraging him to pack.  He's got a list.  This is the 6th year in a row he's gone to this same camp.  He's nearly 15 freaking years old - He's plenty old enough to make this happen on his own.  Finally on Thursday I come home and he's all proud of himself for having gotten all packed.  I just want to review it with you, he says and then I'm good to go!  Great, eventually I head upstairs to change my clothes and he calls to me on my way up.... uh, sorry about your bed.  Yeah.... every inch of my bed was covered in piles.  There were more piles of more things all over my floor.  Everywhere.  Stuff.... just everywhere.  I did not handle it well at all.  I slammed a few doors and hid in the bathroom until I managed to collect myself.  Let's focus more on how proud I am that he got it all pulled together and less on where he chose to do it.  I only ended up about 45 minutes later to bed than I intended.  There were no piles on my bed.  There were, however, four thousand piles on the floor.  Finally tonight we got everything loaded into duffel bags and he wanted to make sure he could carry it all on his person.
He could.

7) Jason, with his newly short hair, forgot to put sunscreen on the tops of his ears and they got seriously burnt.  As in blisters.  That he popped.  Ouch!!!  Poor baby!!! 

8) Someday I think I will have a clean room - but I'm not sure when.

9) The other day on the way home a car pulled right into my lane hitting the side of my car.  Shit!  I got out expecting to see all manner of damage to the drivers side of my car and instead finally figured out that we'd managed to just hit mirror to mirror.  It pulled both of our mirrors away slightly from the body.  I decided to just drive away and feel lucky.

10)  ok - only 9 this time.

Monday, June 24, 2013

A little story about Jack and Jill...

Once upon a time there was a couple (Jack and Jill) who’s marriage was failing.  They decided to have an open marriage in hopes of ending the cold war and finding their way back to being friends – an odd method for some, but many other methods had failed and it wasn’t all that odd for them.  Jill met a man (Kip) online who was also in an open marriage.  Jill liked him and that he was in a similar situation and they met.  It turned out that for Kip it was only open in theory until Jill, but he told his wife (Kelly) it was open in practice within a few weeks and after the initial shock she was completely open to the idea.

In fact, Kelly wanted to meet Jill.  They met and became fast friends.  Kelly hoped that Jack would want to have a similar relationship with her and that they could have a nice little group, though Jack was disinterested in any additional connections in his life at that time.  Kelly claimed to love Jill in her life, and in Kip’s life.  And for a while the three of them got along famously.  Jill really liked Kelly and enjoyed their friendship.  Eventually to Jill, it seemed that Kelly wasn’t really comfortable with Kip having this ongoing relationship with her so she offered to stop seeing Kip because she genuinely liked Kelly and was concerned Kelly wasn’t as comfortable with their intertwined relationship as she claimed she was.  Kelly repeatedly asked her not to leave.  Repeatedly told her she loved the new energy and freedom that Kip showed now that Jill was in his life.  Jack did enjoy meeting both Kip and Kelly and going out with them a couple of times but was utterly indifferent to Jill and Kip’s relationship; he wished her a good time each time she left to meet Kip.  Kip also sensed that Kelly wasn't comfortable with Jill in their lives and immediately offered to stop seeing Jill and Kelly was very angry that Kip would offer such a drastic option and insisted that she loved Jill in their lives and anything he was sensing was just her adjusting to everything.  Kelly said that to offer such a drastic option made Kelly feel as though Kip was trying to silence her.

Upon reflection, Jill believes she never would have suggested an open marriage if she wasn’t already done, in her mind, with her marriage to Jack, though she didn’t realize that at the time.  Jack and Jill did find their way back to being friends, but their marriage is over.  Jill is not exactly sure whether the same was true for Kip and Kelly.  Maybe Kip, too, felt his marriage was over, but hadn't yet come to terms with that, clearly Kip was looking for something that was missing; spice? connection?  Only Kip knows the answer to that.  And only Kelly knows the answer to why she so firmly encouraged the relationship between Kip and Jill. 

Jill only knows what she heard and saw from both Kelly and Kip.  Kelly embraced the openness of their marriage and found several new friends to spend time with; some also in open relationships.  Jill got mixed messages from both of them over time.  From Kelly she periodically got the feeling Kelly wasn’t always okay with their arrangement, but then Kelly would repeatedly assure Jill she was and she would consistently demonstrate how comfortable she was with their arrangement by working to ease Jill's worry and by finding additional ways for Kip and Jill to spend time alone together.  Sometimes Kelly would say their new arrangement was difficult to adjust to and other times she would talk about it being the best thing that ever happened to her.  Kip reported he got similar mixed messages from Kelly, though Jill doesn’t know if that’s true or not.

From Kip, Jill got a constant pull.  She had an intense immediate connection with him.  Over time Kip's struggle with his own marriage became more pronounced.  He talked about wanting a future with Jill more and more.  Jill fell in love with him and was open to the idea, but wasn't sure that was a viable option and certainly knew it was very premature to even think about. 

As time went on, Jill believed that the issues that originally had Kip wanting an open marriage became more clear to him and he became more certain that he no longer wanted to be married to Kelly. Kelly also began to report that she didn't think she could stay married to Kip. Kip stated he loved both Kelly and Jill.  Kelly stated she loved both Kip and Jill. Jill was overwhelmed by the constant drama and wanted out and pulled away from them both. Jill urged Kip to discuss what he wanted with Kelly; to be open and honest with her. Kip was afraid of the fallout from those direct conversations and instead of being direct and dealing with what needed to be dealt with he hedged and hinted and swayed back and forth with Kelly. He pushed and pulled and pushed and pulled.  Jill remains confused by his behavior, she assumes Kelly does too. Jill does know that Kip was emotionally abused by his father and badly bullied throughout school – including by friends of Kelly (they went to high school together and Kelly told Jill that the worst of the bullies were people in the outskirts of her high school crowd) – and she assumes he was terrified of the conflict as his early years had taught him conflict always ended badly for him. Jill thinks it’s possible that Kelly’s association with the high school bullies may have played a part in his fear of painfully truthful conversation with her as well, but is not sure of that.  Kip did not handle the exit of his marriage well. He was not always fair or nice to Kelly.  Jill is not sure how Kelly was treating him during that time. 

Jill believes Kelly decided she couldn’t handle the push and pull Kip was giving her and decided she was going to leave their marriage, though Jill is not sure of this. Kelly never talked to Jill about any of this and Jill was surprised when she discovered that Kelly had unfriended Jill and blocked her on FB. Jill was sad about that, but certainly understood how she could be a reminder of a painful situation. Kip struggled with Kelly’s decision. He told Jill he was both relieved it was ending and sad he was losing such a good friend. Kelly moved out of state for the summer before moving into an apartment in the fall.  For several months his inconsistent behavior with Kelly also bled over to his relationship with Jill until she had enough and also left Kip. Jill and Jack remained good friends but decided to get a divorce.

After Jill had left and Kip had pulled Kelly back again there was a big tell-all conversation with Kip, Kelly, and Jill; where Kelly and Jill shared all the truths that Kip had hidden or lied about. It was quite an evening and forever referred to as ‘that night in the gazebo’. In a moment of insanity, Jill took Kip back at the end of that night after he’d looked Kelly in the eye and told her he didn’t want to continue in a marriage with her, that despite pulling her back, he wanted a relationship with Jill. Kelly still wanted to maintain a close friendship with Jill. Jill wasn't sure that was healthy for any of  them.

Jill was extremely cautious about this new chapter in their relationship. Their connection remained just as powerful – but she didn’t let him in as she had before. She also laid down several conditions that needed to be met in order for her to truly give it a try again; all of them for her own protection. The biggest and most important was for him to figure himself out. To understand what allowed him to behave the way he did. He readily agreed to her terms and worked hard to get centered and healthy. Jill believes you can’t truly offer yourself to someone else until you can be whole all by yourself. And she believes Kip did not believe in his own worth and that until he truly did, he would continue not to be the man he wanted to be.

Nearly a year after that night in the gazebo, Kip and Jill are still together and Kelly is still living in a near by city and his daughters report she is thriving.  With one big exception three months after that night, things between Jill and Kip have been good and calm and happy. It’s taken this long for Jill to begin to relax into Kip again. She sees the work he’s done. In the first few months after that night in the gazebo she watched him fall apart and start to put himself back together. It was gut-wrenching to watch as well as fascinating and impressive as hell. But it’s taken this long for her to realize she was still holding her breath in a lot of ways. Jill spends a great deal of time with Kip, but has still been keeping him at bay to some extent. For the last year, she treats her time with him as… something like “her other life”. As if she has two distinct lives; both real. But in no way connected. Both Jill and Kip have children and Jill was firm about not wanting to drag their children into an ongoing drama. She believed that if and when they were truly in a good and calm and happy place they could bring their children into the mix. For her – that really meant – truly mixing her two lives. It took this long –but finally she’s ready. She’s ready to breathe again.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Ten Things Thursday

1) My baby boy had 5 – count them, 5 – teeth pulled yesterday.  It was supposed to be 6, but last week he fell and landed face first on the edge of the couch and one fell out – so yay for that.  They were all baby teeth and at 12 ½ they still just didn’t want to come out.  Most of them weren’t even remotely loose and they were threatening to make his otherwise straight adult teeth start to wig out and think about staying where they were or coming out in all kinds of crazy angles.  He did great – probably better than his mom.

2) A little conversation with 14 year old Tommy

                Tom: Mom, I need some new clothes hooks.

                Me: ok, I just found a couple the other day, they are hanging over my door. (pointing to bedroom door right in front of me.)

                Tom: (walks over and stares, confused, at the over the door hooks)… (looked a little more)… (went to a different door to look at other hooks)… (looked a little more)… (then, I swear to God, you could see the little light bulb go off over his head.)  Oh!  I don’t mean those kind of hooks, I need the other kind.

                Me: ok.  What other kind?

                Tom: (acting this out with his hands) You know.  The kind that is a triangle with a hook on the top.

                Me: (doing my best to not fall out of the chair laughing) Uh… you mean hangers?

                Tom: yeah, that.


3) I don’t know that “Good enough” is really good enough – so why is it called that?  My marriage didn’t suck.  We didn’t fight.  We like each other, hell, we love each other.  I had it better than lots and lots and lots of people.  We connected in lots of friend kind of ways.  We just weren’t connected at all in a love and marriage kind of way.  We lived next to each other.  We were friends with benefits.  It wasn’t good enough for me and he wasn’t willing or able to try to fix that.  And that's sad.

4) I just put money on my electronic S!arb4ck’s card and used it for the first time ever this morning.  OMG – I love it!!!!  I love technology.  How cool is it to flash my phone at someone and have them hand you a chai latte.  (I am also very thankful that S!arb4ck’s is not remotely convenient to my normal routine and is only possible occasionally)  

5) I think therapy should be mandatory for all humans.  (I’m ignoring all manner of far more important social issues here – like food and education and safe housing and I’m well aware of that).  Sometimes it’s helpful to get through a particular situation and that’s fantastic – but really – I just think it’s so important for all of us to truly know and understand ourselves.  I so believe you can’t truly be there for anyone else unless and until you can own your own faults and fears and walls and understand how they can affect others.  And I say this just as no where near being able to truly look at them all for me as everyone else – but I am totally aware I still hide things even from me.  
6) I am glad I’m blogging again – I do so enjoy it.

7) Tommy and I are doing Ji!!ian Mich@e!’s online exercise program together this summer.  It’s going to kick my ass – but I’m so grateful to the powers of the universe for putting his desire in my face.  Sometimes we all need a kick in the ass – and when it comes in the form of your 20year-old-looking-14-year-old – how can you say no?

8) Tom just got his hair cut – and Jesus-God – he looks entirely too old (if a little stoned).  I’m a little distressed. 

9) Jase also got a hair cut – which – thank the heavenly Lord above.  He loves his hair long, but it’s so straight it’s just always in his face but it isn’t a fight I have the slightest interest in fighting.  If at 12 he wants long hair – go for it (within reason).  But… he got his hair cut short – like really short, which shocked the shit out of me.  Thankfully he still looks like a little boy – unlike my mean old older son who has the nerve to look so damn old.

10) I’m thinking I need a new job.  I’m not 100% sure I want to continue doing what I’m doing now – so I’m planning on taking the next year ish – to gear myself up for doing something different – or maybe the same thing, but for a different company… we’ll see.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Trust.... clarified

I got an email today from a close friend telling me my “Trust” post made her worry about me – she wondered if I was okay – sure something was wrong in my relationship.  I’m sorry I made her worry – but nothing could be further from the truth.  All is moving along beautifully.  I’m happy.  Peace, calm, love, intensity… it’s all good.  I have, however, found myself truly fascinated by the human spirit.  I was immensely skeptical that we’d ever find our way back to trust.  But what I’m learning each day is that we can. 

Is it all the way back?  Nope.  Will it be the same when it’s all the way back?  Nope.  Will it be something strong and valuable?  Yup.  Can it work?  Yup.  Might it not work out?  Sure and I might get hit by a bus on the way home tonight too.  Who knows what the future will bring?  But I am awed by the human spirit.  I am awed by the lessons the world brings to your doorstep.  Some are lovely and some suck shiny white asses.  But they are all valuable.  And the key is not to lose sight of you – of who you are and what’s most important to you.

Never in a million years did I think my marriage would end, but it has (for all intents and purposes).  It’s not his fault.  Maybe it was all my fault, I don’t know – but I know he didn’t fight for me, for us.  I know that hurt me – I know that shapes some of how I see the world now.  I know he hurt my trust receptors too.  But, I also believe with all that I am – I am where I’m supposed to be right now.  It wasn't easy getting to this place, but I’m awfully glad I’m taking this journey. 

The fact that I can say “I do trust” is amazing to me.  It’s not perfect.  There are still wounds that are not yet healed.  There will always be scars, but I do trust and that’s miraculous.  How is that possible with what I watched?  With what I experienced?  I don’t know.  I just know that it’s coming back and that’s a beautiful thing.

Sunday, June 16, 2013


Here’s the thing.  I’m happy really happy.  I’m happy with the choices I’ve made.  Happy with where they’ve led me.  But that doesn’t’ mean I don’t still have questions.  Recently I’ve been thinking about Trust.

What is it?  How is it measured?  How is it sustained?  What if it’s broken?  How do you get it back?

Without going into all the gory details.
He spent several months not giving me the whole truth.  He looked me in the eyes and lied to me.  He took something from me, from us, we’ll never get back and boy, does that piss me off.  But I decided not to leave, so now what?

The one thing I always believed in from him was his intentions.  I knew he wasn’t happy.  I knew he didn’t know how to reconcile that with how much of his life had been spent focused in one direction.  That it hadn’t been what he wanted, hadn’t been what he thought it would be I knew he really struggled with living up to the things he’d said and done up to that point.  How could so many years of believing in one thing be wrong?

I believed he was beginning to believe in himself, beginning to believe that it was okay to reach for the connection and intensity he’d always wanted, beginning to believe that it was truly ok to just be.  And I knew it wasn’t going to be easy for him. 

I only ever wanted the truth.  I can deal with what needs dealing with but only if I know what it is.  There were several months that were just bad.  Finally I left.  I truly believed I’d never go back.  I’m still surprised I did.  I’m happy I did.  There were still more bumps in the road (understatement) after I went back.  And the worst of the bumps was the breaking of the trust.

I had a really hard time with how he lied to others.  How hard he tried to avoid having to just stand up and say what he wanted knowing it was going to be hard.

How do you get the trust back?  How do you move forward when the trust will never come all the way back?  Once upon a time my therapist told me to look at his text messages, to have him give me his passwords so that I could read his emails.  I looked for a week or so but that’s just not who I am.  And frankly if he wanted to go behind my back he’s clearly capable of creating new emails or getting new phones or whatever else he might want to do.  So what now?

You just move forward.  You take one day at a time.  You slowly build the bridge again.  You know the bridge won’t be the same, but it can still span the gap.  You revel in the beauty between each other.  You keep your eyes opened.  You don’t let worry build you ask questions if you have them.  You breathe.  You thank God for the beauty you share.  You delight in the connection.  You enjoy each day. 

I can’t suddenly be someone I’m not.  I can’t tell him what to do.  I can’t tell him who he can and can’t talk to.  I can’t check up on him and follow around behind him and see what he’s doing.  If I were so untrusting that I felt I needed to look, I’d never believe it anyway I’d always assume there were things I didn’t know about, things he was hiding and it would just make me crazy wondering what I might not be seeing so after that week or so - I stopped looking.  I believe you’ve got to just be.  You have to live and let others live as they choose.  You’ve got to be clear about who you are and what you need and then you’ve got to leave it up to. Life to belief to trust.  It will be or it won’t.

For all I know, he may think I read his emails every day.  Or maybe he thinks I don’t and he’s carrying on a double life.  I don’t believe that one.  Because I do trust.  His intentions always spoke to me.  Maybe so did the bee at least when I needed something extra to hold on to.