Firsts

•August 30, 2017 • Leave a Comment

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I feel like it’s already way past midnight, but it’s really not. Maybe it has to do with my sheets STILL being in the dyer (again) thanks to another cat vomit incident (FML). Or maybe, it’s just how very dark it feels now that summer is coming to a close (FMLx2). Or maybe it’s just that I’m so God damn drained of everything.

I realized something today: We spend our lives obsessed with and craving firsts.

First step. First word. First love. First kiss. First fuck. First car. First day of school. First job. First child. First husband. Wait, what?

You get my point.

We crave these milestones. We strive to achieve them and we put so. much. weight. on them. It’s almost insane, and yet, here we all are.

Today was my son’s “first” day of kindergarten. Except, it wasn’t. He was only there for an hour. My ex and I were there with him. We sat in the gym with the Principal and he went off on his merry way to his new classroom, and only with half his classmates, as the first half had already been through the same process earlier in the day (divide and conquer is always the best way, right)?

So, tomorrow Owen will have a half day of kindergarten, then another half day on Friday. Then it’s along weekend as it’s Labour Day. And so, in fact, his real FIRST DAY of school isn’t until next Tuesday.

As we waited for the right time to walk Owen over to school this morning, the ex asked me if I was planning on going back tomorrow to send him off for school again since we weren’t entirely sure today counted as a “first” day…

Does that scared, quick brush of the lips when you’re 10-11 years old count as the first kiss?

Does your parent’s car that you borrowed every weekend for about a year before you could afford your own car count as your “first” car?

Does that bf/gf you had in 5th grade who held you hand once a week and sat with you at lunch but never talked to you and kinda didn’t even really like you count as your first relationship?

As I watched Owen skip down the street in his too-big-backpack and light-up sneakers I couldn’t help but feel a little disjointed about the whole schedule and procedure today. And as we got to the school and were greeted by staff and a basket of Kleenex “just in case” I still didn’t feel the emotions I felt I should. I mean, he was down the hall, and gone for an hour only. Technically, this morning was the first time I’d seen my child in almost 6 days since it’s not my time with him. For me, that’s a helluva lot more tragic than him going to have fun with other kids and a knowledgeable teacher for an hour.

But then, maybe I’m just insensitive?

A few mothers and children were teary and clingy and when I looked at the mothers so upset that made me well up, but I wasn’t crying for the “loss” of my baby boy, I was more upset at the hurt they were currently feeling that their children were taking such a milestone step.

The academic “first” is perhaps one of my favourite (yes, one of…) ones. I am so excited to see how Owen progresses; I can’t wait to explore his strengths and weaknesses. See what he’s good at, what he struggles with. What he loves and what he hates. I’m so, so curious.

As parents we project SO much on our poor unsuspecting children. So much. From emotions to odd sayings to strange food aversions (and likes) to career choices, and we definitely aren’t aware of half the shit we throw on them on a daily basis, of this I’m sure.

Just because mum is into writing and cars and dad weight lifts and is technologically savvy doesn’t mean he’ll do any of the above or even care for it as he evolves and grows  into his own little human being.

And I find this fascinating.

Why would I cry about the possibilities and the potential?

I’ll tell you what I want to cry about: The lunch planning and homework and much, much earlier mornings, and the evening traffic, and the parent/teacher nights and parent committee meetings I’ll inevitably have to attend in order to not be seen as “that” mom, and the increase in birthday parties and play dates (dear God let the other parents be decent human beings who like wine and don’t mind a swear word here and there).

All of that I will cry about, in fact, I’ve already cried about it … while I was labelling EVERYTHING Owen will ever bring onto school property, including every single Crayola marker and individual glue sticks and erasers and Kleenex boxes…. ALL. OF. IT.

Next Tuesday is going to be a helluva lot harder than today was, I think. Sure, Owen will be used to it by then, but next Tuesday is going to be the real deal. Mum’s gotta get outta bed to get us both out on time, we have to sit in real summer’s-over traffic, I have to remember to pack him a healthy, peanut-and-waste-free lunch, I have to actually REMEMBER TO TAKE IT OUT OF THE FRIDGE, once Owen’s been successfully dropped off I then have to get my current press car back and pick up my next one, then get to work and function all day, leave early, sit in more traffic and make sure I don’t leave him in day care for too long since it will, after all, be his first full day and I wouldn’t want him to be too exhausted.

And after all that and dinner, I’m supposed to want to workout in the evening. And I likely will. But I’ll tell you what I’m sure to also do after the workout and after Owen’s had a bath and gone to sleep. I’ll cry. With a big glass of wine.

Because that will be the FIRST day of the next 6 years he’s going to attend this school. That will be as much my first day as it will be his, and that’s kind of a big deal.

Firsts are a big deal, when they’re actual firsts. When they carry weight and meaning and are about change and growing as a person and an individual. Do I feel like Owen’s “first” day helped him progress as a now-student? Not particularly. It was more of a tease, like that first kiss that’s just a grazing of the lips because both were too scared to lean in too far and panicked then pulled back.

And as focused as we are on firsts, what about the follow-ups? The second children, and the relationships after failed marriages, and the subsequent years of school that follow the first day EVER? Do they not carry as much weight?

I think they carry more. We go into the follow-ups knowing more, having experienced more, being braver, more stable (hopefully), better prepared to know what’s coming. Our firsts are there to prepare us for the second time around. And if not prepare us then at least let us know what NOT to do.

My hope is that in this first year of schooling both Owen and I can learn from the mistakes we’ll make (because we surely will) and go into the years that follow stronger and better as a team and as student/parent. Sure, this “first” was exciting, but my God what the future holds excites me so much more.

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I hope you meet a nice guy…

•August 17, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Reviving-Wilted-Roses

Sometimes I wonder what’s “wrong” with me. And I write wrong in those bunny ears to make myself feel a little bit better and less harsh about saying that something might be fundamentally wrong with me on some level, just so we’re all clear here. But I do wonder…

Maybe wrong is a harsh word. What’s different? What’s broken? What’s difficult? What’s unusual? What’s a struggle? What’s a challenge? What’s unlike the others? What keeps me alone 95% of the time? What’s the problem here?

Am I supposed to have these answers? Is someone else supposed to have these answers?

But wait, why is being on my own really a problem? Let’s take a few steps back for a second. I’m content in my solitude. And before you scoff and don’t believe me, hear this: Being single is amazeballs. I do what I want, when I want (when my son’s not here for my week ruling my life and my heart, of course). I can go where I want without asking permission. I eat Triscuit and hummus for dinner more often than I should, and sometimes dinner is just a glass (or 2) of wine. I can move furniture around without asking anyone’s opinion. If I want to watch the same movie or TV show for the 26th time in a row, I can.

No one is going to judge me. No one is going to argue. No one is going to care or make a fuss or try and change my mind. Trust me, the cats rarely put up a fight unless comfy blankets and/or food are involved.

I think about the idea of living with someone again now, and it’s been so many years since I shared a residence with anyone (and my now 5 year old doesn’t count) that it kind of makes me panic to think about sharing a space with another adult again. I don’t know that I could. I have my routines, I have my quirks, I have my ways… would I be able to share that again?

Recently, someone told me that they hoped I’d meet a nice guy. And while I laughed and brushed it off, they weren’t the first to wish such a thing upon me.

A nice guy.

What constitutes a “nice guy”? Do the same rules apply to the nice guy as the broken girl (also something I’ve been referred to multiple times)? Do we have specific qualities that might bring us together (seems to be the case most of the time)? How will I know he’s nice? Will he wear a sign? Why has said “nice guy” not appeared yet, despite me interacting with men who managed not to murder or maim me up to this point?

I’ve been told I push people away. Nice people. OK, not people; men, nice men. I was also recently told that it seems I seek out situations that will never work, because it’s easier. How could a dysfunctional situation be easier? Well, it’s a way to get out of things without too much trouble, without investment and the possibility of being deeply hurt emotionally. Date the guy who’s going to move back to his own country away from you or the one with the complicated situation or the one who’s aloof and never talks about his life or past and never asks you any questions. But the guy who’s solid and grounded and oh-so caring and sweet, who asks lots of questions and wants to get to know the real you… push him away. You don’t want him.

And I do push away. I do all that. And I hate myself a little bit for it.

So, perhaps this is more of a PSA to stop wishing a nice guy finds me, because the nice guy is only going to get hurt in the end, and we all know the nice guy doesn’t deserve that. Let me suffer in all this on my own. Let me push away the bad ones because they’re no good for me anyways.

Right?

That makes me feel like I’ve found the “wrong” in me. Seeking out the impossible. Not even what I think I can fix and make better, just what I know is outright impossible and wrong and going with that.

Like, how can I make my life super complicated and difficult? Fuck, yes, let’s do THAT.

But isn’t difficult slightly more enticing and interesting? Forget the whole bad boy thing; I don’t want someone who’s an asshole to women and a dick to his friends, who doesn’t respect his mother or hates animals and robs banks on the weekend. No, I’m not talking about that. I just mean that nice can equal boring.

Fuck, no. I don’t want boring. Please dear God, anything but boring at this stage.

I’ve experienced boring. First dates (even 4th or 5th coffee or lunch or dinner meetings) of useless conversation that had me thinking about work to-do lists and laundry I had to finish or really anything besides what he was droning on about instead of focusing on the words coming out of his sweet, nice mouth.

How can I be so harsh and dismissive? Why am I rejecting someone “nice”? Is that what’s wrong with me?

And then I’ve had conversations with “not nice” guys who are self-deprecating, confident in their insecurities and shortcomings, who include profanity and openness and bring out real, deep belly laughs that I’ve not experienced in ages, where topics range from parenthood to cooking techniques to politics to books recently read or goddamn crossword puzzles, really anything goes… but he’s not a nice guy.

So, what’s really the hope here? I see the slight pity in peoples eyes when they ask me how things are and if I’m seeing anyone and I say things are good but, no, I’m not. And there’s a moment of sadness that flickers across their faces. In those brief moments I kind of want to throat punch whoever it is that’s asked me. Why does my partnering with anyone have to hold so much weight on my happiness, first of all? And second of all, why does everyone so desperately want to push a boring “nice guy” on me?

The irony of the last time the “nice guy” statement was uttered to me was not lost on me. Not a bit.

I’ve reached a point in my life where I realize I have no answers, none at all. I’m fumbling around trying to figure out what keeps me sane, what keeps me smiling, what keeps me feeling whole, and what keeps me going. I focus on those things, even if they don’t seem to be the smartest, best decisions in the long-term. In the moment, they are what matters and I go with it.

I’m also aware of what I don’t want or need or desire. I’m OK with saying no and walking away from things that aren’t good for me.

Or am I?

Apparently, I should be walking towards the “nice guy” and making a happy, calculated, nice future, but instead I can’t stop walking in the opposite direction towards …

Scared to be lonely?

•July 20, 2017 • Leave a Comment

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Sarah’s coming out from under the bed every single day now. She meows loudly to announce her emergence, then slowly pokes her head, then paws then entire body out. Tail in the air she’ll saunter over to me (or anyone else who happens to be standing beside me). However, the moment you reach down to pet her, she skitters away and will sometimes run back under the bed entirely, gone for the rest of the day/night.

She’s made such huge progress in the past weeks, it makes my heart swell, and has even brought a tear to my eye when she gets really into it and head butts and purrs up a storm. But it also makes me wonder if Sarah’s really learning to trust me and wants to be near me or is it just that she’s tired of being lonely?

I’ve come to realize that, besides my parents (who just celebrated 25 highly dysfunctional but also kinda fucking amazing years of marriage together), no one around me is in a relationship they REALLY want to be in. Everyone is so goddamn unhappy on some level, somehow. And yet, they stay together.

Why?

Hang on. I know this answer. I know I do.

Going on my fourth year out of a marriage, and without any significant portion spent in a “normal” relationship with someone who was in the same country as me, when it comes to thinking about being in a committed, see-the-same-person-every-day-in-the-morning-and-at-night relationship freaks me out ever so slightly, only because I believe (finally) I’ve become rather independent and quite happy to be on my own and spend time with ME.

That aside, I still remember what it’s like to be in that committed, one-person scenario. Still have small memories of what it meant to compromise on decisions and put myself second (or 20th as the case often was with me, and 100% of my own doing), how it felt to plan for evenings out together (tedious as fuck), and weekends away, decorating together and sharing daily trials and tribulations over dinner.

And I also vividly remember that when (on some deep level) I knew I was done with it, I still couldn’t and didn’t walk away.

Kids and living arrangements and circumstance are great excuses to stay with someone and in a situation you don’t really want to be in. Shit, that was definitely at least one of the reasons why we stayed together as long as we did. And how often do you question a spouse on why they stay with their significant other when they clearly loathe them; and as they bounce the sleeping child on their lap or play with the puppy at their feet they just bought together or twirl the car keys for the brand new model they just bought, they respond, “We can’t just split up, we have too much together.”

Well, I’ve come to the conclusion it’s more than that.

People are scared to be alone. Petrified of being on their own. Just like Sarah. She doesn’t “love” me in the traditional sense, she just gets so excited when I come back from work or from being away from the condo for a few days because she’s no longer alone. That fear of being the ONLY ONE: It’s fucking terrifying.

I know.

As contented as I am on my own without obligation to anyone (besides my son who owns me entirely, and my God does he know it), I’m also ridiculously fucking petrified that I will be alone. For a long, long time.

I’ve asked friends in troubled relationships why they just don’t leave and make themselves so much happier. Why torture themselves if they are so unhappy every day they step through the door and spot the person they should love, but don’t? And they usually respond with something along the lines of, “Oh, I know it’s not all bad” or “But deep down I know she loves me” or even “I’ve never been with a man who was as committed to me before.”

But is all that worth losing your own personal happiness over?

In my oh-so-single brain, it’s deifnitely not. Not one bit.

No relationship is perfect. I know this, trust me. I do know. But, I’ve also started using the pros/cons scenarios with friends in troubled relationship spots. As in, do the pros outweigh the cons? Do the number of times he’s made you laugh and smile outnumber the times he’s made you cry and scream in anger?

Because if the good doesn’t outweigh the bad, there is no fucking reason to stay. Not for one more second.

Life is short, so short. We all have a limited amount of time on this Earth, some much more limited than others, and we never really know what that time limit is until it’s too late, right? So why waste it? Because society says you have to try? Because your mother will be disappointed? Because you think it’ll be too hard and they’ll cry too much when you tell them they no longer make you happy? Because you just bought a house and it would suck to look for an apartment again? Because you kinda really like NetFlix, but the account is under their name and you’ll miss it too much when they’re gone?

Or is it because you’re scared to be alone?

I am. I’ll openly admit that.

But here I am.

I’ve managed to survive, thrive even. And in all my “loneliness,” I’ve learned that no matter what, I will no longer stay in a situation (partner, friend, work, line at the grocery store…) that doesn’t benefit my happiness, and in a big way.

I don’t mean a smile once a week and looking forward to once a month date nights, oh no, it’s got to be so much more than that. I mean a snort-inducing laugh in every conversation, a grin on my face every time I see his (even first thing in the morning when we both look like swamp monsters from the deep), excitment when doing run-of-the-mill shit like groceries and washing dishes, epic orgasms (for both) and a freedom to explore without judgement between the sheets, and an ability to be happy for one another when we lead our own lives outside a relationship we’re both thriving and evolving in.

Sounds like a bit of a pipe dream, doesn’t it?

At this point you all realize I am far from a relationship expert. In fact, I think I’d wager I’m more of a warning label for dating and relationships. Like a, “Look at her kids, this is what NOT to do if you want a long, healthy and happy relationship with a partner.” And I’m well aware and make no alusions to being anything else.

But in all my failures and shortcomings, I’ve learned a great deal about myself and human interactions as a whole. We’re all pretty fucked up and broken. ALL OF US. No one gets to be shiny and new and undamaged, it doesn’t happen. We all have history and baggage and bullshit that’s what makes us unique, what makes us attractive to the other sex (shockingly enough), but it’s also the reason we put ourselves in situations we aren’t really happy with because it also makes us afraid.

Afraid to share that damage and brokeness again; afraid it won’t be accepted; and afraid that it will all lead to the same conclusion: loneliness.

So, we stay. Stay where we don’t really want to be. Stay so that we can be “loved” in some fucked up way because the idea of being alone in a world that’s already so oddly isolating despite the gobs of communication and interaction tools available at our very fingertips is just too immensely terrifying to consider.

What’s Wrong with All of Us?

•May 5, 2017 • 3 Comments

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Truthfully, I don’t even know where to start with all of this … I feel like it’s all been said before, brought up before and discussed at length. But fuck it. I’m going to bring it up again.

When it comes to dating and interacting with other “adults” these days, there’s something seriously wrong with the majority of the public out there. Not physically wrong, but emotionally and mentally even.

Then it got me thinking: Am I the one in the wrong? Please, fuck, tell me I’m not the one in the wrong.

I’m in my mid-30s now.  By societal standards, I should be established enough in my life, myself and my career to be a contributing part of society and a decent human being. Well, somewhere along the way, recently-turned-30-year-olds lost the fucking memo.

Opening up to anyone is never an easy thing. Opening up to anyone today is a veritable minefield of fuck-ups and disasters. I’ve come to accept that we ALL have baggage and issues and scars that have molded us into the people we are today. Some hide all that, some use it to their advantage, and some cover it up entirely (not the wisest thing).

About two years ago, I wrote a post about dating in my 30s and how messed up it was. Well, not much as changed since then. It’s the same, if not worse. And I don’t think it’s just because of my age. I’ve heard of 19-yr-olds complaining of the same scenarios, and that makes me sad.

We’ve lost the ability to be authentic. We’ve lost the desire to divulge our deepest secrets. We’ve lost trust. We’ve lost understanding. We’ve lost devotion.

I hate meeting a new guy. I do. I hate the “getting to know you” phase. I hate explaining what I do for a living. I hate laughing in a fake and interested way (if I’m not, and truthfully, I’m generally not) and pretending to be engaged in his amusing stories about the gym that aren’t amusing at all. I hate the small talk.

Thanks to today’s technology, monogamy seems to have taken a back seat.  Sure, you can be “in a relationship” with someone, but ask to see their phone and see the panic in their eyes. Relationships can build and flourish via text, messenger, IG … virtual affairs are a real thing and I can’t help but consider that every time I meet someone new and I realize how much we each check our phones.

I hate it.

I also highly dislike the attempt at dirty talk that just has me rolling my eyes because he’s used the same line as the last 10 guys. Don’t tell me you wish I was getting into the shower with you when the topic comes up. Don’t tell me you want to know what I’m wearing. Don’t tell me you wish I was beside you in bed late at night. Tell me ANYTHING ELSE, literally. Quote fucking Poe or Frost or even Stephen King … ANYTHING ELSE.

Wait, that makes me sound bitchy and perhaps rather slutty.

But here’s the truth: I’ve not slept with anyone in months (yes, read that again, MONTHS), and I’ve been single for over 6 months. My 5-year-old son recently discovered my vibrator under a pillow on my bed and proceeded to bring it into the living room (turned on and vibrating) while I was sitting with a girlfriend claiming that he really liked it and could he play with it?

My life is a living meme … an oxymoron of what you think you have to do/ should do vs what really happens. I have no fucking clue what I want or need from anyone, if I’m honest.

Dating in today’s society is a bunch of bullshit. Nothing is genuine. Nothing is real. Everything is replaceable. I hate it. I loathe it. I don’t use apps. Tinder is bullshit and Bumble is just annoying and isn’t much better. Trying to meet someone in a bar leads to one thing only: Sex. Which, on some occasions, is fine.

Do I need a partner?

I’m not sure. The past 3 years would tell me that, no, I’m quite capable of being on my own. Do I WANT a partner? I wouldn’t mind it … but what will it take? It’s all too much for me. Too much iPhone and Bumble and social interactions and online vs offline … I feel old and tired and broken. I don’t trust and I don’t want to. It’s not worth the hurt, the heartache and the recovery. Better to stay single and “safe” than open up the delicate bits and have them shattered again.

Sarah is still living under my bed. I lay down on the ground every night and chat with her. Tell her about my day. Every morning she pokes her head out and we look at each other for a few moments. Late at night I catch her in the bathroom, sitting by the sink; I pee and she watches me warily till I go back to bed. I see her slow progression and it gives me hope that I can someday progress in this fucked up world of dating and interactions.

Sarah and Me

•March 3, 2017 • 2 Comments

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I’ve spent the past few months not being OK — at all. Not one bit. Not emotionally, not physically, not mentally. Just not OK. I’ve struggled with friends, with family, with my son, with my fucking cats, with work, with staying healthy and doing things for me. Everything has been a struggle. Nothing has seemed to go my way and everything has just been like pulling rotten, bloody teeth.

This past weekend I think I finally hit a sort of rock bottom. And truthfully, as far as rock bottoms go, it wasn’t even THAT bad; but it was enough to wake me up and to make me take a deep breath.

I find it so incredible how sometimes the smallest things can make the biggest differences, and also how they may seem so very small to me, but be the absolute most massive thing to someone else.

Here’s rock bottom in a bit of a nutshell (and bare with me, I promise I’ll explain…. most of it at least): Pants no longer fit (fuck). Go out for drinks with a girlfriend, end the night hugging the toilet and totally dysfunctional the next day remembering very little from the night before besides heavily making out with some guy I didn’t even know. Pants still no longer fit (fuck). Behind on a million reviews and texts I should have written. See myself on totally visible online video sure to be seen by at least a few THOUSAND people and pants definitely no longer fit (fuck fuck fuck). Childhood friend’s father suddenly passes away, and the next day a 27-year-old also passes away, losing his battle to cancer.

Fuck.

Before my night of debauchery began (ending in the toilet worship), I spent the day at home, lounging on the couch, cleaning here and there and waiting for a new arrival.

I’d agreed to take in another foster cat. She’d recently been rescued from a local kill shelter and I was to be her second chance at life. Sarah, her name is. And I was told she was slightly fearful. No problem. I know cats. I got this.

Sarah arrived just after midday. Rushing downstairs I collected her from the transportation crew and immediately stuck my face up against the cage bars and said in my most convincing and gentle voice:

“It’s OK Sarah. You’re going to be OK. Everything is OK now.”

She looked back at me with the most terrified and absolutely petrified look, pupils the size of her head, ears flat, body absolutely quivering. I recognized that look, that body language, that reaction. It actually made me stop for a moment. Me looking at her, her looking at me.

Shattered.

Upstairs to the condo and I brought her to her new abode: my bathroom. While not overly glamorous it offered heat, shelter, a litter, food, water, and comfy blankets to sleep on (along with a multitude of places to hide and explore should she desire).

Upon opening the cage, Sarah proceeded to bolt straight to the bathtub where she curled up as tightly as possible in a ball close to the drain, head down, attempting to be as invisible as possible. Not understanding what Sarah needed, I reached a hand down to stroke her gently only to be met with wide, wild and scared eyes and a pitiful hiss that begged me to leave her in peace, please.

So I did.

Before I went out for my disastrous night, I ventured back into Sarah’s bathroom. She was still shivering in the tub. I placed food in front of her. Nothing. I cooed and called her name and crouched down beside the tub. Hiss. Wide eyes. Terror.

So I got in the tub with her. I needed to prove to her that she was going to be OK. I needed to show her I meant no harm. I needed to let her know that I was going to be her safe place. I was her savior.

Sitting in a bathtub (fully clothed) with a scared animal is something I’ve not done before. I didn’t touch her. I didn’t attempt to reach out, I just sat there mere inches form her while I watched her haunches shiver and saw her watch me with wary eyes and a skeptical gaze. I talked to her, told her where I was going that night, told her about my day, what chores I should be doing the next day – all things she gave zero fucks about, but I felt she needed to hear me speak, needed to have that one-sided interaction. Then when it was time for me to go, I left. She observed my every movement with NASA-like precision.

There’s something to be said about a night without limitations or inhibitions. I’d recommend it to anyone (though not all the time, especially if you’re past the age of 25 because that shit takes some recovery time). The freedom you feel, it’s unmatched in most cases. Surrounded by those who care for you and want to be near you, who make you laugh and want to see you have a good time: it does something for the soul.

Copious amounts of mixed alcohol, on the other hand, does not. In fact it does nothing for the soul and everything for the stomach (later that night) and the head (for the rest of the next day).

You’ve been warned (but you won’t listen anyways, because I never did or do).

After spending the day comatose on my couch wrapped in a ratty blanket still wearing the previous night’s shirt, PJ bottoms, and mismatched socks, having downed four Gatorades and eventually forcing myself to eat half a bag of Cheetos, I arose from the couch and my horrendous hangover.

I needed to see Sarah.

Entering the bathroom gingerly, I called out to her softly – more because I could barely speak properly on account of having spent the better part of the previous night retching and dry-heaving over a toilet and totally fucking my windpipes and throat, and less because she needed to be coddled as such.

Huddled behind the toilet in the semi-dark, Sarah quivered. Standing in the doorway I watched her for a moment then thought to myself: No, she needs to interact, she needs to get over this, she needs to learn to trust to forgive to move on, she needs to be OK.

Reaching behind the toilet I gently pulled her out. Hissing half-heartedly and making every attempt to “hide” herself in midair she hung, lifeless and limp in my hands. A tiny frail thing, her body shook ever so slightly. Immediately, I pulled her into my chest, she shivered more deeply and looking up at me with her wild, scared, untrusting eyes, and hissed again.

I smiled at her.

My son has a wooden stool with a carving of a giraffe on top that lives in the bathroom and he’s used it since he could walk and stand. He uses it to get into the bath, to brush his teeth, and he brings it into the kitchen for our various baking and cooking adventures. We’ve had it since he was born.

Together, Sarah and I sat on the giraffe stool. Placing her gently in my lamp I let her settle. Truthfully, she just collapsed as I’d placed her, tail underneath her body, slumped to one side, limbs haphazardly underneath, head to the side, ears flat, eyes feral.

I began talking to her then.

“It’s OK Sarah. You’re going to be OK. I know you’re scared. I know someone or something hurt you. I know you don’t want to trust anyone, but you’re safe here. I’ve got you. You’re going to be OK. It’s OK.”

Slowly, I began to stroke her head and shoulders, run my fingers along her jawline. I could feel her body tense, go rigid, unaccepting of the touch or the affection. And yet I continued.

Often, the things we believe we never needed (ever) are that which we need most. Offering acceptance, help, and understanding can be one of the hardest things in life to do, but once admitted it can mean the world, it can make all the difference.

Sarah continued to hiss softly, body still rigid, and I continued to pet her gently, speaking gently to her about being OK and accepting the help and the safety.

I started to cry.

Here was a creature broken down by humans (possibly other animals, too), by life and by circumstance. Here was a being totally and absolutely shattered in every way. Seemingly ruined beyond repair. And here I was, quite suddenly accepting that I felt entirely the same as Sarah. Together, wide-eyed, petrified, unwilling to let anyone in, trusting no one, scared of making another mistake, unsure of anything and everything.

Sobs racked my body as I sat there with this poor, wrecked cat in my lap wondering if either of us could ever truly be “saved.” For all of my “it’ll be OK Sarah” pep talks; would it be OK? Fuck, I had no idea. I had no idea if it was going to be OK or all right or even marginally tolerable.

Maybe THIS was the state I was meant to live the rest of my life in. Maybe this was the fate Sarah and I had in store; terrorized, broken, shattered. Hiding behind toilets and in bathtubs, half-heartedly hissing to warn intruders but welcoming attention in small doses. Completely and totally fucking shattered.

Sarah began to purr.

It was hard to notice at first; my own sobs were rather noisy and she’d been shaking from fear only moments before, but my hand on her small delicate chest revealed that, yes, indeed she was purring. And at that moment she tilted her head up and looked at me. Her pupils retracted ever so slightly, her ears moved upwards in the minutest way, and she looked at me, and I at her.

Broken. Shattered.

I smiled, laughed a little through tears even and scratched her chin ever so gently. The glorious chainsaw purr intensified as her eyes shut ever so slightly and her body relaxed into mine.

Heaving a deep, shuddery breath I too closed my eyes and rested my hand against Sarah’s softly vibrating chest, my fingers still tickling that sweet feline spot under her chin, while I whispered (much more defiantly now):

We are going to be OK Sarah. We got this.”

When does it stop… ?

•January 13, 2017 • 8 Comments

emotions

I’m so done with feeling. So completely over emotions. So finished with crying and sobbing and experiencing sorrow and discomfort and loneliness.

When does it stop?

Please, tell me it stops. Tell me it fucking ends soon. I can’t function much longer in this state of OKness that suddenly and sporadically morphs into complete and utter ruin for moments, sometimes hours. It’s not healthy. It’s not productive. It’s not sustainable. At all.

If I’m honest, I think I’d be OK if just the crying fucked off.

My parents will be the first to offer up the tidbit of information that I cry; easily and a lot. Well, I used to. When I was young. Make me angry? Cry. Excite me? Cry. Surprise me? Cry. Make me ridiculously happy? You guessed it: Cry.

I was a tear machine, and it happened at the drop of a hat or compliment. And truthfully, I kind of liked it. I got my point across. It made people listen, instead of scaring them away. It opened lines of communication (with the right people) and helped me get through some pretty difficult times as a child and teen.

Yet, for a huge part of my adolescence and young adulthood, all that crying took a back burner. I hid all emotions, and myself. I was careful not to react too intensely to anything (don’t let them see the real you, don’t let them see who you really are and how you really feel … cue the Elsa “Let it Go” music, seriously).

Stay level. Stay neutral. Just keep it even and you won’t cause any problems. That was my frame of mind.

I realize now how fucked up that way of thinking is. How horrible it was for me. How restrictive and contained it all was. I think all that pent up emotion and character were the reason my life took the turn it did.

After that sudden turn, suddenly, all my emotions were out. Good, bad, neutral, weird, enlightened, dumb … there they were.

It felt free and amazing and terrifying and hard all at once. I had no idea how to deal with this openness. I lost friends, lovers, potential relationships, alienated coworkers and acquaintances because finally I was speaking my mind, expressing myself, and being open.

But not in the right way. I was just letting EVERYTHING cascade out of me. Without filter, without control. Mainly because I didn’t know how to reign it all in. Not at all.

Recently, I feel that lack of control again. Not because I don’t know how to keep my emotions in check, because I really do at this point. I’ve had a few years of complete openness and enough emotional up and down to teach me how to really survive through this onslaught of feelings.

No, this time is different. And I can’t explain it. But, please, when will it stop?

The past few months I’ve tried my very best to go about my daily business as per the norm. Work, motherhood, time for me, events, going out … and no matter what, my brain is on high-emotion alert.

I’ve, on more than one occasion, excused myself from a conversation so I can sob quietly in a bathroom stall for a few moments before I can gather myself. Ask anyone who’d been talking to me, and there was no indication that I was upset or on the verge of tears.

And the fucked up thing is, I’m not even aware that I am.

It just happens. This swell of incredibly deep, profound emotion. Like nothing I’ve ever felt before in my life. Ever. It’s both impressive and horrible all at once. I don’t know what to do with myself most of the time.

This evening, while getting ready for bed, I suddenly found myself incapacitated in the hallway, curled up on the floor, sobbing into my knees. I can’t quite explain how it happened. Music was playing, perhaps a lyric jogged a memory or a smell or a thought , but it was enough for my emotions to completely take over before my brain even knew what was happening.

I’ve experienced loss before. This isn’t abnormal for me. It’s not my first rodeo, not at all. I’ve lost plenty of people in my life either by personal choice, their choice, death or circumstance. But this. This I don’t know what to do with.

And I don’t know why.

When does it stop?

I want to not cry randomly at traffic lights. I want to actually laugh out loud and not feel tears welling in my eyeballs as I chuckle. I want to not suddenly have to heave a great shuddering sigh when I’m making a coffee at work. I want to not have to walk away from a conversation suddenly because I feel tears rising. I want to not have to stop in the middle of a run to bend over and opening sob.

I want to be OK. When will it stop? When will I be OK?

 

Forgotten

•December 22, 2016 • 1 Comment

forgotten-quotes-8

How do you deal with being forgotten? Being brushed aside and just left to be with the rest of everyday occurrences after you were, for a short time at least, priority…

As we move through life at a horrendous clip, it’s easiest to feel forgotten. For all the emotions and heartache we all may feel as individuals, the notion of being abandoned, forgotten, pushed aside, left by the side of the road; that might just be the strongest.

Why?

I’d like to think I know … digital distractions? Life too full? Hands amputated and vocal cords stolen?

But then I have a moment of clarity and reality: As a society and a people we have become much less tolerant of “useless” relationships.

Don’t answer a text/email/post quickly enough: done. Refuse to tag me in a photo we took together? Dead to me. Don’t follow me back on IG? Well, why the fuck did I even talk to you? Digital relationships are so complex these days, I don’t even pretend to comprehend them. But these relationships leave more people forgotten than ever before.

Do I think it’s right? Absolutely not. But it’s a reality we need to adjust to today.

Having been married, I fully understand what it means to move on. I do. And perhaps my situation was unique since I moved on while we were still in our “relationship.” But that doesn’t mean the notion that we were eventually going to forget one another was there …

I’ve not had a great number of ex-boyfriends. In fact, I can count them on one hand …. and it would require less than half the fingers on that hand. Doesn’t make the “forgetting” process any easier.

And, wait, hang on … I say “forgetting process” but fuck me, I better not be the only one trying to forget here. I struggle with it on a daily basis; being an adult about it, not reaching out, being civil, not crying every time a certain song comes on, holding my shit together when I see a pic of said ex with another blonde on some god-awful social media site. I struggle. But do they?

There’s the real demon of today’s reality. There is no “forgetting” because they’re there every day, all the time. Online. There with someone new. Smiling. Happy. Moved one. Surviving without you, the forgotten one. Living their life. And as much as you want to look away, you can’t . Because you’re in the ether. You’re in the outskirts, the darkness. And so you watch .. dying a little more inside each day.

Forgotten.

Today, I handed over a foster cat to a transport company so he could journey to his forever home. I’ve had this cat for over 4 weeks now.

The day I picked up said cat (Oliver), I also picked up my then long-distance boyfriend from the airport… for those who follow this blog (bless you), know that the weekend with the then-boyfriend didn’t quite go as planned.

Oliver was a constant reminder of the past. Every time I looked at that cat I saw a human him. And yet that didn’t make me love Oliver any less. In fact, it made me want to continue to make him happy. To love him. To keep him content. To make him remember.

I didn’t want to be the forgotten caregiver.

When I handed Oliver over today, I quickly returned to my car and I cried. A lot. Not because I would miss his presence in the condo (because, really, he stressed out my two girl cats and caused one to have a UTI and was always knocking stuff over and sloshing water from the water-bowl on the floor…), but because I felt like that that was it …. the final connection between someone I’d loved more than I thought I could love another individual and  I was done — no more. He’d played with Oliver. Cuddled him. Fed him cheese. Asked about his well-being even after he’d left us. Now Oliver was gone.

Forgotten.

Everyone hopes they’re worthy of a memory, a glimmer of a story, a daydream. We all want to be thought of at some point. But how do we know we are?

Over the years I’ve learned that holding shit in is just not good for anyone. If I think about you, dream about you, feel love/hate towards you; I’m gonna tell you. I wish more people were like that, if I’m honest. Most hold it all inside till the “right moment.”

That “right moment” isn’t ever going to happen. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

No one wants to be forgotten.

I’m the first to admit that I recently posted a quote saying, “Sometimes we survive by forgetting.” I don’t disagree. Forgetting is an absolute gem when trying to forget a certain time or occurrence in your life.  But I can’t forget the people involved.

Don’t let the universe make you forgettable, but don’t be so available that you become insignificant.