IF

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If I was an oarsman…I would paddle through stormy oceans

To bring you back to me

If I was an engineer…I would shovel the coal and steam full speed ahead

To bring you back to me

If I was a pilot…I would fly around the world searching

To bring you back to me

If I was a a trucker…I would pay the tolls

To bring you back to me

If I was a mailman…I would apply as many stamps as needed

To bring you back to me

If I was in the Special Forces…I would hack my way through jungles

To bring you back to me

But I am none of those

And incapable of bringing you anywhere

You have to walk to me

On your own two feet

Of your own volition

With love in your heart and strength in your eyes

You have to plumb the depths of your soul

To figure out

Who you are to yourself, to me, and to our children

And where you want to be

You have to make the decision

To find me again or not

For I am here with empty arms

Waiting to see…

If you will choose the hard path or the easy one

If you will honor your vows

If you will be here because you want to be

If you will be the man I used to know

If you will allow yourself

To fall in love again

With me and all that I represent

And know this

If you choose to walk away

I will not take you back

So be sure what you are doing

Will bring you the happiness that you

Are sure that you are missing

And know that we will all be forever changed

As you search for what you think is out there

No oarsman, pilot or trucker now needed

To bring you back to what you already had

That is now gone…forever

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STANDING ON THE OUTSIDE

As you stand on the outside

Looking in

You will see that I still have

A smile on my face

And deep love in my heart

Our children will still laugh

And I will still sing

With you firmly on the outside of our lives…

As you stand on the outside

Looking on in

You might see a new man

Being the father to your children

That you swore you would always be

Yet, he is with them now

And he is with me

A woman still capable of happiness and great love

He was lucky enough to find me

And smart enough to know a treasure when he saw one…

As you stand on the outside

Looking in

You will see your reflection in the glass

Will you like what you see?

Will you be proud of what you have done?

Or will you wish

That you had been wiser

And realized that your perfect ideal of a “happy” life

Was just a fantasy that never came true

As you searched for greener pastures elsewhere

And you gave up something

Rare and beautiful

For nothing…

As you stand on the outside

Looking in

On everything beautiful

You once had

But didn’t appreciate

Will you appreciate it now

That you are standing on the outside

Excluded and alone?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Disjointed

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Not suppose to disagree. Somehow he thinks if he expresses himself that is the way it will be and no one should disagree with him. Express thoughts = big damn parade with balloons, dancing unicorns and me bringing up the rear with a banner reading “Anything You Want Honey. You Expressed Yourself. YEAH!”

All these years of being denied what he wanted because he refused to share now it must be his way. If he shares he is doing his part. No consequences. Period.

Excuse me. That’s not the way it works. You can’t say, “I am committed to you but the deep love is gone but I hope that maybe I find it again” and expect me to jump up and down like a cheerleader. “GOOD JOB, B!” waving my pom-poms around. I have the right to say FUCK YOU, which I haven’t because I am trying to maintain dignity and grace, but I just might.

It’s hard to lay in his arms at night. Both of us holding each other sweetly but tightly like we are each other’s life jackets trying to save ourselves from the waves washing up upon our relationship threatening to pull us apart. The safety of your arms no longer feeling as big and strong as I remember. And we both talk about the pain that is pulling us under and your words don’t seem to have the meaning that they did in the past.

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I try to remember that you are hurting too. I try to remember that this isn’t easy for either of us and that it is hard to find love again when two people are so scared, miserable from being scared, and unsure of the future. I try to remember that I KNOW WITHOUT A DOUBT that you would save my life, risking yours, if I was in peril. But I’m not sure about our marriage, which is in peril, for it seems you will save yourself and not us. And I will be left on that life raft floating all alone.

But still knowing all this, knowing that we still have something even though it is hanging by a thread, this morning I want to kick you in the balls hard enough to drop you to the ground the way you have dropped me. To kick you so hard it would be difficult for gain your breath so you felt like the air was sucked out of you just the way I feel you have stolen the oxygen directly out of my lungs. Would this showing grace and dignity I want to embody in my life? Perhaps it wouldn’t but this morning I am not sure I care.

End of story. Today.

Control…Do We Ever Really Have It? Or Raw II

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You ask me why I have a need to control things. The short answer would be my sister’s severe illness when I was such a young child.  A young child whose parents thought she was too young to know all that our family was facing. I remember being snuck into the hospital (back then siblings were not allowed in) and seeing my sister, after many months of absence, now reduced to a human skeleton, not the happy normal-sized kid I was used to seeing. The guilt I felt was tremendous because I did not understand the situation. I was not told. I guessed a lot and interpreted things wrong. Guilt at wondering why bags of presents were being delivered to our home for her and not understanding why I was not thought of which in my young mind =not loved and not noticed. And how, I wondered even then, could I feel that sense of hurt and jealousy when she looked like death. There was also the guilt at hearing her scream when her shunt was cleaned daily and knowing I was okay. And even all these years later that guilt that rears its head in my professional life and makes me pass out on the floor when I hear a patient scream. I can look at anything but don’t let me hear the pain or I am a goner.  In my book guilt can sometimes=need for control= if I am in control less chance of guilt/suffering/pain. I know its wrong but sometimes my mind still takes me back to that little lost/confused and sad child.

I remember during this time of sickness and confusion, being moved from place to place while my parents sat a bedside vigil. That sense of unconnectedness does things to you. I understand the need to do that now…as a parent…but I didn’t as a child. Yes, my parents were sure I was in good hands. I knew most of the people I was with but some were strangers. It made me scared because back then I didn’t know for sure what was happening and no one thought to tell me. And being left and having no control in where you are going invoked feelings of jealousy that made me wonder why my sister was so special and I was not. Everyone knew where she was…did anyone know about me?

Being so aware of death/illness makes you acutely aware of the little control you actually have so I guess I have spent my years trying to control all aspects of my life which we all know is an exercise in futility.  Some people handle it by drinking. Others have sex with strangers trying to make a connection that somehow they feel they missed.  Others drive too fast, take too many pills or eat too much. Others show no obvious issues with it at all. Mine is control. And control, and the lack of it I feel in our relationship, makes me frightened to death and sometimes I push for a resolution because I feel like that little girl again. Her world chaotic. Her world upside dow. Her world with no forthcoming answers. Her world in control of others and now the master controller is B. And I feel like 1,000 little scattered pieces laying about, disorganized, without the glue of control to hold me together.

You wonder why I feel the need for control.

I watched my parents divorce. All the heartache and stress that went along with a cheating husband. My mother’s pain written in a note I have to this day. And then they divorced and within three years my mother was dead at 50, killed, I believe rightly, by all the stress which took her, a non-smoker, in the form of lung cancer. And I look like her. I have the same moles. I have the same body type. The same nose. And I don’t want to become a statistic like her. Illogical I know. But still dead after all this upheaval… after all the pain none of which was her doing…though that is not the case with me. I have caused some of my own pain. But this I know: stress kills and I am sure it is killing me. Maybe like it did her.

I have enough stress with two children who have significant challenges in their lives. Autism = stress. And now my marriage teetering on the edge of HWY 1 with no guardrail and a 1,000 ft drop to the ocean below. And sometimes I wonder if I will just drop dead of a heart attack or will it be a slower more painful way to contemplate the end of life as I know it because this much stress is like a IV drip of poison creeping into my veins. And so I want to take back control from B in a misguided attempt to avert what was my mother’s fate and not have it be my own. Because I want to live free of heartache, being responsible as much as humanly possible for my own pain, when I must endure it, and not have it foisted on me like a drunken sailor grabbing me from behind and taking what is not his to take.

The mind is a funny thing. We know that what we may be thinking is be wrong.Screwy thoughts  that we recognize as inaccurate.  But those feelings are what trip us up and make us believe things that we know in our heads don’t make sense but to our hearts don’t matter. Our hearts often have a mind of their own, too busy working to keep the blood flowing, rather than worry about correctness of how it is being done. Yet, my heart hears unsaid words. It sees hidden emotions on a persons face. My heart squeezes the truth that goes coarsing through my veins and it ignores the science of it all. My heart stings. It whispers with every whoosh. And for the past few days, I would bet my bottom dollar that it has cracked in two, blood leaking into my drowning sticky soul.

You ask me why I feel the need for control. It’s because I no longer trust you to take care of my heart and the love that it holds. You have held my heart in your hands and you have not been gentle with it. You have treated it as callously as a hooker treats her next trick.I no longer trust you to take care of me the way I felt I was not taken care of  when I was a child. I no longer trust that my pain is just pain and not leading to something more deadly as in the case of my mother. I no longer trust your words or your actions because you don’t love me and trust is the glue that holds love together.

You wonder why I feel the need for control? Because parts of that little girl remain behind and while I may be a very strong and capable woman sometimes that little girl is stronger when she faces what she perceives to be danger. And she tantrums and pushes for resolution while trying to gain control. Because she is unsure. Scared. Feels unloveable. And somehow she incorrectly believes that control will give it back to her and make her feel whole again. Strong again. Capable once more.

Someday I hope that someone somewhere will take that little girl her by the hand, thrust a mangy stuffed gray much loved puppy into her empty arms, and along with a great hug; tell her that it will all be okay. And maybe someday she will understand in her heart of hearts that control is an illusion and that the only thing she really ever controlled was herself and, finally, that will be enough and she can just let go and get on with living and playing hopscotch again.

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Trying to Maintain Dignity & Grace

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Its hard. No doubt about it. When you feel so wounded and so hurt not to lash out. Not to want to say “Stop being an asshole!” over and over again. To not to want to destroy or implode the last vestiges of your relationship or something that is meaningful to the two of you.

It would be very easy for me to get in a “bad” place very quickly right now. A place I would not be proud of in the future. But I know that it would only serve to heap more shame, guilt and sadness on a plate that is already filled to the brim with it. So instead, I am trying to focus on acting with intentional dignity and grace. I am trying to use words that embody dignity and grace. I am trying to act in ways that show my love for myself, my family and B being mindful to incorporate these ideas into my actions. For instance, a small petty way was when B gave me a chocolate bunny for Easter yesterday and instead of taking a hammer to that damn 5,000 calorie creature I thanked him. So while my thoughts may not always be inline with my thinking regarding dignity and grace I am trying to  be mindful and change them too. Thanking instead of hammering. Acting elegant instead of spiteful.

I am trying desperately to remember that no matter what happens with this relationship, the truth is that ugliness, bitterness and anger will do nothing for anyone. And it won’t make me a better person. More importantly it will not make me feel better about who I am and will certainly steer me away from the person I have been trying to become. A more peaceful person. A happier person. A person who loves what is in front of her and not wishing for something more.

So even though B may not see a future together and even if there is no future to see I have to believe if I act with dignity and grace then it will allow the good stuff to come to me and to be seen by me. And that is what I need right now and in the future. I want to be mindful and happy with myself and I want to minimize regrets. I want to see the beauty that is all around me. I want to feel the softness of soft feelings and actions even though things feel angular and hard right now. I want my heart to be open to possibilities so that I can make decisions out of love for myself and not out of anger and confusion.

Dignity and Grace. In fact, I like them so much that I might just go get a tat. I have never had one and could never find anything that I would like enough to permanently place on my body. But maybe these are the most important things for me to remember especially now. Dignity and Grace.  They are my new mantras and just maybe my new ink.

 

You Know That Anniversary Breakfast…

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So we went to our 31st anniversary breakfast. It didn’t go so well. At least for me.It was here that B decided to finally share his feelings which are:
1. He wants to feel the feeling of loving me like I can do no wrong…the way he used to feel but he is unsure that he ever can again. He wants to feel once again like he worships the ground I walk on…which he is not sure that he ever can again.
2. That he is unsure that we are compatible or ever will be. I like to read he doesn’t. He likes to play the bagpipes, I do not. I tend to look for answers and he lets things lay. We go about things differently.He thinks it is important to be with someone he is compatible with…doesn’t know if that can be us.
3. That he doesn’t think we want the same things in life.
4. That he is afraid he cannot find his way back to me
5. That there is commitment on his part rather than deep love…which he would like to find again but doesn’t know how.
6. B wonders if we can we both live with what it is now or what it looks like in the future if there isn’t that deep love that he used to have with me.
7. He is upset that I am not happy living where we do
8. He thinks that when the kids are gone we will have nothing together and he is afraid it will look like now…with all this sadness and turmoil that we are going through right now and he doesn’t want that.
I said that it sounded as if he has made up his mind. That he sounds like our relationship is hopeless. We talked about what splitting up would look like. I think it seems weird divorcing because our marriage isn’t perfect. I mean it is not horrible we rarely fight. He says he feels happy/content in our relationship 60/40. I guess I feel 70/30 but I wouldn’t have said that before all this began.
I am discouraged. It doesn’t seem to matter that I no longer yell, that I am calmer, that the house is cleaner. It feels like nothing I do will change things. I’ll love you more if (fill in the blank) and you do it and it is just B.S.
He doesn’t know what he wants. I don’t think that is fair but maybe I am pushing for a resolution that might be different if I could just wait it out.I struggle with limbo.
I am sad.
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Anniversary & Divorce

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Today is our anniversary. Yesterday was too. But I’m not exactly sure how to mark this momentous occasion. I mean, when someone says that might want a divorce and you are shooting for one year to see if you can still be together, how does one celebrate? I’m not sure even as I write this for a second time. After all, a celebration implies feeling good about something and being uplifted by it. At this point I’m not sure that the good outweighs the sad.

How does one laud the fact that B has returned to being cranky and argumentative just like he was before he dropped the D bomb signifying his general unhappiness? Do you mark that with a toast to all things surly? How does one observe the day when you are still wondering if you will ever feel good the majority of time about what you have together. It used to be that I believed you had a good marriage if you were happy 92% of the time. Now I would settle for 75%. Seems to me the only thing we can wrap up and put a bow on right now is the vague discontentment that we both feel nibbling at our souls.

So as I write this we have decided to go to breakfast. I am sure that signifies something…I am just not sure what that something is. No grand dinner. No grand plans. Just breakfast…a place to start your day together.  Warm coffee. And maybe even warm sentiments will be on the menu. Perhaps that is enough when you are together 30 years.

Conquering Fears

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Today I did something that made me uncomfortable and in the process  I semi-conquered two of my fears. If we measure our days by doing things that provoke discomfort by intentionally facing down our fears; then there are very few precious days during our lives that we get to experience the elation that comes when we find that our fears really weren’t so scary after all. Oh, the power we give to things that don’t deserve it!

All my life I have been afraid of two things…heights and relinquishing control to others. Both make me break out in a sweat and I have spent way too much time giving these fears too big of a place in my life. I have avoided, rejected, over-analyzed and spent time over- compensating for those things (fear,control) that have had me tied up in knots.But not this afternoon. Today I made a change.

After spending eight hours visiting  and cooperating with a doctor, I promised my son that he could do something special. Turns out the thing he wanted to do was indoor skydiving. Frankly, it sent shivers up my spine and after his broken ankle this summer I feared a repeat. I really wanted to say NO but didn’t.

Yet, once inside the facility something strange came over me. I decided that I WOULD FLY too, come hell or high water. After all, I rationalized, it would kill two fears with one stone…flying HIGH and RELINQUISHING CONTROL of my body to someone else. And even through it was expensive, I found I could justify it by invoking  rule #378 from the Book of Life “Do it if the price of a shrink will cost you more.”

Now, usually I deny myself these “opportunities” to stare down my fears in a multitude of ways. Lifetime favorites include:

  1. I say we can’t afford it and “save” money by siting on the sidelines watching everyone else partake.
  2. I believe my kids should have these types of opportunities and deny them to myself because … (go back to #1)
  3. I convince myself I am too fat, too skinny, too uncoordinated, too old, too young…or any other such thing that would cause the idea to come to a screeching halt.
  4. Hey, someone has to take the pictures… don’t they? Damn straight and I am the perfect person to do it!

So instead of “listening” to my usual playbook of excuses I plunked down my Visa and before I knew it the time came to suit up. This didn’t mean that there were not plenty of anxious moments in between. As I watched members of the group ahead of us fly I began to list all the reasons I shouldn’t be doing this in my head. This included such things as:

  1. At my age, all my wrinkles would be pushed back into my face and with little bit of collagen I have left… they just might become permanent.
  2. That money thing again.
  3. Broken bones scare me along with signing release of liability forms which emphasize dislocated shoulders and other rather painful injuries that may occur should I be stupid enough to do this.
  4. The thought that wetting my pants could cause a floating vortex of pee spinning around me and the instructor was terrifying. I mean at least in a swimming pool no one knows but this could prove problematic and I knew that should it happen it would be up on YOUTUBE in 2.4 seconds!
  5. I might kick the instructor unconscious and slam my body all the way up the glass only to be stuck at the top of the tunnel… kind of like Charlie of the Chocolate Factory fame.

Then, just as I was about to go and ask for my money back, Paul with all the exuberance of an 8 week-old puppy said, “Mom, I am so glad you are doing this with me. We will have so many memories of this time together that we can share for the rest of our lives!”

And that was when I had my AHH-HAA MOMENT. That is when I realized just how much I had let my fears hold me back from more than just myself but I had let them hold me back from creating memories with the people I love the most. And so I did it! I got in that flight suit, I put on those goggles, I put in the ear plugs and I strapped on that helmet….and I had a blast!  And for several minutes I didn’t care how high I went, if I broke something, or if I should have bought  Depends…I let myself be free and I willingly let someone else take over.

Now this doesn’t mean that I have entirely conquered my fears but I have got them roped and tied. From now on am going to make a conscious effort to get into the Game of Life and not just watch from the sidelines. I have vowed that once a year I will actively work to decrease the amount of influence a fear has on me. And who knows, maybe even sometime in the future I may just decide to jump out of a airplane …according to my 28 year-old Aussie accented instructor I am a natural at this sort of thing and I wouldn’t want to let him down!

 

Fading Memories

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For the past several years I have seen a noticeable decline in my brain function. It has me running scared. My friends even joke that I am the perfect person to tell a secret to because I cannot remember what they have said. From my perspective…ITS NOT FUNNY! But today’s news brings me hope for the future.

 

Scientists from Riken-MIT are now using light to stimulate memories in mice with Alzheimer like diseases whose memories have eroded. According to their research it may be that impaired retrieval of memories may be at the root of the problem of memory loss rather than encoding or incomplete storage. It seems that the spines on brain cell dendrites are responsible for completing pathways with which to retrieve memories. By using light (optogenetics) to re-grow the missing or “lost” spines it has helped mice remember experiences that were once lost.

While fascinating it also brings up a host of interesting questions. For instance, if you can re-grow spines to have memories return can you also shorten them and take away painful memories? Or is there a way to identify and classify memories as “good” or “bad” and only bring back the “good” ones? What would life be like if we could only remember the “good” and does that change the concept of human nature as we know it and what might be the unintended consequences of living in such a manner? Do we need to have some “bad” memories as a kind of “preventative” measure that protects us against things that may bring us harm? And more importantly if you could make a laundry list of memories to keep and remove would you go ahead and have it done?

While the practical application of improving memory retrieval is far off in the future it does give hope to people like me who are concerned about the decline in their analytical and processing abilities. As like anything in science, one just hopes these improvements in our mental and physical health arrives before it is too late to make a difference for ourselves and our loved ones. As for me, I hope that there are powerful meds that are available soon for I am not sure that I would want someone fiddling around in my brain.

 

Where Am I AND Who Am I With?

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I just returned from the beach where it rained 3/4 of the time we were there but I loved it anyway. Something about that salt air makes me feel calm and peaceful. There I can enjoy all that life has to offer…easily. I am thinking if that is all it takes perhaps I should buy a noise machine that sounds like waves and an automatic scent sprayer that evokes that sea salt smell so I can trick myself into bliss 24 hours a day.

Speaking of bliss, while we were up north, B shaved off his beard and moustache. I haven’t seen him without it for over 25 years. Five of his six children had NEVER seen him that way either. It was quite a shock. But underneath it all there was something edgy and sexy about having a new man by my side. The smooth skin of his face now matches the smoothness of his balls and it does mind-tripping things to the fingers as they slide along matching parts of his body located at different ends. I have to admit I felt a little bit like Mrs. Robinson taking her young smooth talking boy to bed with her but take him I did and was I ever glad I did!  After 30 years of stubble… smooth felt like velvet on my body and my body responded to these new sensations extremely well especially for a 50+ year old woman with four children sleeping under our roof.

Tomorrow (which is now today as I write this) I leave for the southern part of the state where I will spend time with my kids and doctors. When I will write the magazine article that is due sometime in the next six days is beyond me but who cares…I have decided to be carefree and refuse to worry about what MIGHT bite me in the ass because of it! Until then, I am heading upstairs to get in touch with my husband’s new bare-ass naked wild side.

See ya!

I Will Be Happy….Damn it!

My oldest  girlfriend read my blog and told me that I sound like I’m manic depressive in my writings. She says if she didn’t know better she would think I was ready to throw myself off of a bridge and in truth I would have to agree with her assessment. Okay, not the one about throwing myself off of a bridge…we both know I am too vain to do that. I mean wrinkled and bloated…I already do that well enough without adding  rushing water.  No, I am referring to the part about the ups and downs of my recent writings.

Frankly, I am working hard at writing from my heart which at this time swings low and then high in 1 second flat. One moment I can see/feel the love the next moment it feels like it may be gone never to return. Frankly, I am a mess. While it felt for a while that things were improving we are both noticing old unhealthy patterns returning. I think my writing reflects this. Perhaps that is because the sadness and disappointments are easier to spot and to write about. I suspect that is because they are such intense emotions whereas happiness  or some variation of it, while beautiful, is not shattering and just creeps silently in without shouting out its arrival. Unfortunately, I think most of us just don’t reflect and analyze happiness like we do those negative emotions.  Pain, sadness and concern rock us to the core while happiness drifts over us sometimes appreciated and sometimes not. It just doesn’t have the sting that sadness does.

I think there is also that adage in play here about writers having to suffer angst to know the human condition and write about it in a way that gives it the justice it deserves. And while I know that this is indeed hogwash I also know that I bought into it to some small degree when I started writing for the newspaper all those years ago.

So tomorrow I am off to the beach for a holiday and I have pledged to write something uplifting, kind and noticeably happy to see if it influences any other parts of my life. Until I get back...choose to be happy damn it! … and give happiness the attention that she deserves in your life!