Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Been a Long Time

Around puberty, we start to develop the sense of a "perceived audience." We think that everyone is looking at us, judging our every move, and ultimately making determinations about our worth. It's an extremely stressful time that lasts for most, about 10 to 15 years. At which point, we realize, half disappointed and dismayed, and half relieved, that no one actually gives a fuck. We are much more self-centered, self-conscious, and too busy worrying about our own perceived audience to notice how well someone is performing for theirs.

I remember being yelled at by girls in junior high and high school for looking at them. They would say things like, "What the f**k are you looking at?" "Can I ****ing help you?" It was always extremely startling to hear as I was never looking at them. I was usually looking just beyond them, thinking things like, "I wonder if my mom will let me go out on Friday and Saturday..." "I wonder if I forge a note from my dad saying that I can leave at lunch, if Jade will come with me..." "Oh! I wonder if that cute guy is here today..." When the girls would yell at me and I would wake from my stupor and say something like, "Oh sorry, I wasn't looking at you..." they would become even more agitated, as if to say, "Well, why NOT? We are just so fabulous!" It was confusing. I learned to zone out on inanimate objects instead.

This is all to say that I've been afraid to write. It feels so much like I have an audience again. I get that no one (still) gives a fuck but I can't help but feel exposed. My life has changed a lot, which has invariably changed the lives of those close to me. It feels like people would appreciate an explanation. I'm annoyed by this. Still, when things change suddenly and feelings are hurt, explanations can go a long way. So here goes... my life changed because I was given a very clear choice between two alternative lives. One was not better than the other, but one was more in line with why I was put on the planet. I did my best to ignore the fact that a fork in the road was clearly becoming visible. Still, day by day, the fog continued to lift, events moved me this way and that way, and then eventually, it became clear. So I leapt.

Here's the thing about leaping, sometimes you don't splat. Sometimes, your wings emerge and catch the wind quite nicely. It's crazy as hell. What a ride. Seriously. A moment of pause...because this is divinity.

Now I'm going to talk about my perceived audience again, as if they are real. Thanks for humoring me. First, a justification: I do live in a small town and I am active on social media, so I might not be totally imagining this. I think we are all naturally voyeuristic to some extent. We are curious about other people's lives because we measure our own against theirs, which by the way, is not a great idea but still, we do it. This is what Facebook is right? I don't tend to post pictures of myself raging at loved ones. No, it's pictures of Ellis and I smiling cutely, #blessed, and I leave out the part where she has just informed me that today is the worst day ever because I won't take her to Twirl to buy a toy. So maybe I haven't hurt enough, or maybe I've made it look like these decisions are no big deal, they've been made lightly and without consideration of how anyone else might feel. Maybe that's how it seems.

So, for the record, that's not the case. And also for the record, I don't need to bash anyone else to justify my soul's purpose. And finally for the record, I won't bash myself either, for making decisions that feel right and true.

It doesn't matter what you decide to do. It isn't about the "what." It's the how and the personal why. Go this way, or go that way, it doesn't really matter as long as you do it for the highest good. My decisions have no bearing on anyone else's. Because I chose this way, does not mean I've done the right thing or the wrong thing and therefore you've done the wrong thing or the right thing. You do you. Just don't be an asshole.

So that's what's been happening in my world. Faith is an interesting thing and I'm enjoying my growing relationship with it. Love to all of you.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Forward. An Update.

Another mom tapped on my window at my daughter's school and when I rolled the window down, she became suddenly apprehensive. "What's up?" I asked. She hesitated and then with a guilty grin, she whispered, "I just have to ask...[she paused]. What is it like?" "It....?" I asked. "The freedom." The words rolled off her tongue imploringly.

I'm pretty sure my jaw dropped just a bit, but she continued, "I love my husband but the idea of having the house to myself. Time. Alone. Oh my god! So, what is it like?" I was careful. I was careful for a couple reasons. One, the freedom is equal parts amazing and anti-climactic. Two, if I have learned anything during this time, it's that I don't need to be doling out relationship advice. So I gathered myself as quickly as possible and I told her that the freedom was great but it doesn't come without complications.

I appreciated her question so much. I have appreciated all my fellow working their asses off women sharing how often they have been (or fantasized about being) in my shoes.  My mom worried so much that I would be blamed for the separation. I assured her that it was 2016 and we have come a long way. Unfortunately, I was wrong. Friends have distanced themselves. The syrupy waves of judgment have been crashing upon my beaches from multiple directions. An explanation is wanted, perhaps warranted, but alas, I am still working it all out for myself.

So for now, I'm returning to the World Series.


Friday, August 12, 2016

Forward

About four months ago, Aaron moved out.

There was no scandal, no fighting, no harsh words. It was a decision that we made together, lying in bed one night, holding hands and looking at each other for what felt like the first time, in a long time. It was not an impetuous decision. Not one that was made lightly or without sadness over the loss of a dream that we once both shared.

Separating was decided upon because we love each other. Because we want the other person to truly be happy, to express who they are without censorship, and actualize their potential personally, intimately, professionally, spiritually. We couldn't do this for each other. It's not that we aren't compatible. In a lot of ways we are. It seemed that for whatever reason though, the particular chemical reaction of Aa + Do created an unyielding energy. An energy that required that one give up essential parts of themselves to accommodate the relationship. Turns out we love each other too much to ask that of the other.

Like awesome beasts who are best viewed from far away, we knew that the harder we tried to get closer, the more destructive we would eventually become.

In a lot of ways, uncoupling felt like a responsibility. Ellis. Ever present in our hearts. Loving her kept us together and loving her helped inform our decision to split. What is partnership? That is a question she, like the rest of us, will contemplate when she gets older. Whether or not we want to, we model what we see, and so we want her to witness and ultimately (hopefully) emulate a divine, loving, exciting, life-enhancing partnership, not one based on habit or obligation. We want her to see her parents in all their glory. I never want Ellis to diminish herself to be in a relationship.

I think the most challenging part of our separation has been dealing with everyone else's reactions. It seems that folks are more comfortable with an angry, dramatic breakup. Amicable just doesn't make sense. If it's so great, why are you splitting up? Ultimately it is no one's business and what is most helpful is our community supporting our family, as we are still, and always will be, a family.

I think it is brave to have a family, no matter how it looks or how it changes.


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Boss Lady

I would say I am an introspective person, who, from time to time, borders on neurotic. Which is to say that on a good day, I am "looking in," to see how I can use any given experience to help me grow, evolve, become better. On a bad day, it means I obsess, worry, and take on way more than my fair share of the "introspection," leaving the other person entirely off the hook.

It doesn't help that I am witlessly drawn to narcissists and codependents, both of whom do everything in their power to make their issues about me. On a personal level, I have become much more attuned to these rabbit holes, land mines, anthrax laden envelopes, and can, mostly, give them a wide enough berth to see what is happening without taking too much of it on.

Professionally, it's a different story. There are so many conflicting narratives about what I represent on any given day, it can be hard, to say the least, not to fall prey to "feedback" that is actually an attempt to knock me down a few notches. This, by the way, does no one any good. Ever seen a parent in the supermarket, the moment he/she has lost a power struggle with their toddler. Not good when the "parent" feels powerless. Desperate times y'all.

I have always valued transparency and vulnerability above all else. I also value refusing to give up my power so those around me will feel more comfortable. This can, at times, feel like an impossible balance. Especially when so much of what I represent causes microbursts of reactions in the people I interact with on a daily basis.

As I write this, I think of some of my female mentors, Patsy, Stephie, Laurie, my mom, Susan, who all share an uncanny ability to say "Thanks, fuck off," in the same way a Southerner says, "Bless their heart," to the biggest asshole in the room. Must. Learn. To. Do. This.

I write this on the morning after receiving an email from a "trusted" colleague who's feedback was a.) not shared by anyone else in the room, b.) almost entirely meant to take me out at the knees, and c.) a blatent display of what I contend with on a weekly basis. It's exhausting y'all.

Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Pink Elephant: Public Announcement: I'm Staying Wierd

The Pink Elephant: Public Announcement: I'm Staying Wierd: A large part of my childhood, the part I most recall, was spent living in a house shaped like an octagon. The house was actually three octag...

Public Announcement: I'm Staying Wierd

A large part of my childhood, the part I most recall, was spent living in a house shaped like an octagon. The house was actually three octagons stacked on top of each other. As if one was not enough. The house represented to me, a palpable example of how un-normal my life was, and by association, how un-normal I most likely was as well.

A friend of mine lived near the corner of Valverde Street and Trujillo Lane in Taos, NM. On the corner sat a two story, territorial home, complete with red-roof and dormer windows, that led into what I was sure was a bedroom with a matching sheet set, duvet cover and shams. I drove by this house as much as possible. I found it impossible that a person could stare out of dormer windows everyday and have divorced parents and all the complexities that come with that.

My insistence on living in a square shaped house carried through to my adulthood. When Aaron flippantly suggested we buy a dome shaped home, I seriously reconsidered our compatibility.

My dad left when I was nine. He had many girlfriends throughout my childhood. All of them, except one, considered me a nettlesome reminder of the 1963 Michigan State Homecoming Queen runner up, my mom, the love my dad never recovered from. Needless to say, they were not warm. I learned early what it felt like to be disliked and envied by other women, for something I had no control over. My dad was the perfect storm for any woman who was attracted to unavailable men. I remember feeling a mixture of pity and embarrassment for them as they tried, relentlessly, to capture his heart. And I always felt sad for my dad because his heart remained beating for my mom. Leaving was his biggest mistake.

My mom was remarried to her first husband, the builder of the three tiered octagon. He was equal parts cruel and magnanimous. Not the ideal choice for a thirteen year old girl, but I learned a lot about my own worth during this time. Either because he was showing it to me, or because he was openly challenging it. I learned to bend and sway but not break.

This is all to say that I now live in a square house. I drive an SUV. I'm married with a child. We have two dogs, a garden in the back, a 401-k, a mortgage, and a rainy day fund. I'm like the epitome of normal. I love my life but it turns out that normal is highly overrated. I like my weirdness. No, I NEED my weirdness. I like knowing that there are things you can't touch, see, smell or hear, but you know are ever present, moving you along, supporting you, cheering for you. I like saying the wrong things at the wrong times sometimes. Why not?! I like knowing that things don't have to be a certain a way. Says who? For what reason? There is magic in the Wierd. It's here to stay.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Pink Elephant: Fallen. Off. Wagon

The Pink Elephant: Fallen. Off. Wagon: I find it interesting that it takes 21 days to form a habit and my yoga challenge has hit an abrupt stop at day 20. I was listening to some ...