Monday, May 31, 2010

Meanness and Cruelty *

A friend of mine made a comment to me recently that has been ruminating around in my head ever since. I had made the statement that I didn’t understand being mean and he said that I was mean. I was mean because here I was late at night hanging out with him and not home with my husband, who had long ago gone to bed without me. I was really troubled by the question of meanness. But I think perhaps, that I am not mean, I am cruel. There is a distinction to be made; it is not noble but it is important. In this case, cruelty is derived as an effect of an action. However, the action is itself selfish, self-centered, self-involved and at times even self-loathing but the end result may be an inadvertent cruelty to another. This is the type of action I participate in. I have been truly mean about four times in my life. Three times were necessary. I was in danger and had to react accordingly. As I have mentioned, I have the ability to see the best in people. The counter part to that is that I can also see their vulnerabilities, which is where I struck. I landed in all three instances and in one case even brought a grown man to tears. I think I was 14 at the time. I was immediately swollen with power and having touched the deepest recesses of my darker self was invigorated by it. I understand how people can become addicted to that kind of darkness. However, afterwards I was desiccated and hollow and although I know it was necessary, it took a great toll upon my soul.

The fourth time was utterly unjustified and horrible. I was mean for the sake of being mean. I wanted to see what it was like. I wanted to impress my friends and so I picked on someone who was just going out on a limb asking me to dance and even to this day if I saw him again I would take his hand and ask for forgiveness though in all likelihood he would not even know what I was talking about. But I filed that feeling away so that I would never again be tempted to act in such a manner. I was a mean girl in that moment, before the term was even coined.

So, this brings us back to the present. I am not mean and I don’t wish to be cruel. But my cruelty is a result of my actions, an aftereffect. It does not justify it, it does not mean I feel no remorse but I am acting to save myself right now. I have been dying in little pieces for a very long time. Dying and no one knew, no one saw. I was awfully good at covering my tracks. And now I have to gather up what’s left and try to put it back together. I don’t know how to do it-there is no handbook-so I try new things and have new experiences and yes, they have an impact on those around me including my husband. But that impact is a byproduct. It is not an intentional hurt. It is a necessity to my survival. I am no longer willing to sacrifice myself. But I still don’t enjoy being mean…or cruel. It is not who I wish to be. It is just who I am now.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Lover *

Alright girls, it is time for me to start writing my book about my life experiences. Which means I have to keep having life experiences. But this book will not be the bodice-ripping Jackie Collinseque soliloque to sex, oh no. This is more the Tina Feyesque nod to the abomination that is my lovelife. Recently, I decided to take a lover. That's right, I said it. A LOVER. Well, ok, maybe not that dramatic. Really my neighbor invited me over for hottubbing and we started making out. But I figured, why not? I could use the self-esteem boost. Besides there's not much chemistry between us so I figured it shouldn't turn into some lurid love affair, but he's nice and sweet and down to earth and we promised not to let it get weird. So it was fun and lovely and then awkward and not good and it ended as all of my attempted one-night stands have...with kissing and a hand job. Sigh...

Later he emailed me a forward about attending a fundraiser at his church...double sigh...

The book practically writes itself.

It got me thinking about what I really want. And need. And have to offer. And I realized, I just don't want love anymore. At least not now. I've had the two great loves of my life. I don't want another. But I have no desire to be celibate. So, I am determined to be clear. I'm an awesome friend. I'm a super cool girl to hang out with. I described myself to him, when he questioned my understanding of a statement he made as "I am surprisingly intelligent and soulful girl veiled in the body of a diminutive supermodel." I wrote it as a joke but when I saw it on the page, I realized that is how I want to see myself. I would like to become a whole and independent woman. And as a girlfriend, I'm still a crazy person. So best not to go there.

And of course it got weird. We went out to dinner and talked about what we wanted. How we were friends and we had had a nice evening but that I needed time to heal and figure out what I wanted out of my life and that he wished for nothing more that to support me in my growth and this new phase of my life as I grow and develop and try to embrace the inner goddess struggling to emerge...and then he called and asked to be my boyfriend. Sigh. I have some more thinking to do about clarity. Perhaps that world where you can just be cool and close and still casual doesn't really exist. Or maybe it doesn't exist for me.

I am very easy to fall in love with; this much I know. There is no vanity in that statement; it is not something I wish for, it just is. But I think it is nothing more than a parlour trick. I see in people their potential. And when they are with me, they can see reflected back to them their best selves. This is really what people fall in love with-that feeling. But the truth is, you don't have to love me to have that feeling. It will be there whether you love me or not. The only real difference is, that if I love you back and we start dating, then you find you are in love with a crazy person.

The Eulogy I Never Spoke *

This was something I wrote as we were approaching Mother's Day. I didn't wish to post it for Mother's Day so I just wrote it down to post later. This year, Mother's Day hit a little hard. Last year, I just sort of skipped it all together since it was the first without my mom. But this year, my Dad actually called and asked if I would come over to celebrate. It put me in a bit of a funk. The evening of was nice. We had dinner, listened to music and drank wine. At 9 pm we toasted the memory of mom. What follows is what was in my head leading up to it.

When my mother passed away, we didn’t really talk about why. Everyone wanted to know, was she ill? How old was she? Was she in pain? These are questions people ask because it helps make sense of the nonsensical. And it gives people solace and something to talk about when there are no words. But these questions did not bring me solace. We told everyone she died of liver failure and lupus and a secondary infection. All of which was true but all of which fell far short of the whole truth. My mother was a recovering alcoholic who by slow and steady progression, one day was no longer in recovery. She was a diabetic who stopped testing her blood sugar. She was a sufferer of lupus who decided she didn’t want to live anymore and accelerated her own demise. It is hard to say these things because they sound like blame. I do not blame my mother because I do know that in the end, if she could have stayed, she would have. But I also know I spent two years watching her steadily digress not knowing what to do. I couldn’t step in. I couldn’t save her, not again. I do not blame her, but it does not mean I am not angry. I turned to Adult Children of Alcoholics for help. They are very irritating. I’m sorry if you are a fan, I am not. They ask lots of questions and offer no answers and they teach you to let go with love-which I did. And my mother died. And I can’t quite forgive myself for that. Nor will I ever forgive them. But all these things you cannot say when you lose someone you love, someone who meant so much to so many. You cannot say how they truly died, for it casts a dark shadow upon the deceased.

So here is the Eulogy which I never got to say; which has been in my heart now since before her passing, when I knew it was imminent and did not step in.

Mom, I miss you so very much. I am so sorry that I didn’t fight harder for you. I should have seen, I should have known and I should have helped. You were the light that shone over this family and now that you are gone I don’t know if we will stay together. I have failed you. But you failed us too. I can’t believe that you just gave up. I don’t understand how you could just give up on us like this. Weren’t we enough? Weren’t we enough to make you want to stay, to make you want to get better, to make you want to fight? And how could you leave, knowing that I would never be able to forgive myself for letting you go? I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know even how to be a whole person and I need your help. What do we do now? You always knew what to do. It wasn’t supposed to turn out this way. You were supposed to get better, like you always do. I love you.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Date Night *

So I have been neglecting my blog horribly due to being a tad overscheduled so I am going to try and do a bit of catch up this week. The other night I decided to take myself on a date night to see “Date Night”. I got all dressed up. I looked up show times online, planned out my evening and headed out the door. On my way to the theater, I was on an overpass when I looked down and noticed the lights of a CARNIVAL. I love carnivals. I love carnival rides and games. I love the smell of the food and the noise and the cacophony of lights and the bombardment of sounds from the crowds and rides and games. So I followed my heart to the carnival, stopped by the grocery store to pick up a little money and off I went. I spent too much money on tickets because I discovered that there were only about 4 rides for me to ride but that was ok. I was having fun. I was also still dressed for my solo date to the movies so I was walking around the carnival in my orange tank dress shirt, skinny jeans and leopard print heels. I was totally blending…really.

So I’m going ride to ride. First ride I’m waiting for, a rather attractive 30 something man starts talking to me. I explain that I was on my way to the movies and that is why I am dressed as I am. He laughs and admits he was wondering. We chat about the giant slide, the pros and cons of the inflatables versus the old standard fiberglass and potato sack, while we wait to get on the spinney ride we are in line for. Then he asks me about the movie and who I was meeting.

“No one. I was taking myself on a date night to see Date Night, “I explain.
“Alone?” he queries.
“Because I wanted to see the movie.”

He gives me a slightly confused look and then gathers up his kids, whom I didn’t realize he was waiting for. I thought he was getting on the ride. Now, I will admit, I am always taken a little off guard when I am questioned about why I spend time alone. I guess if you are not involved with someone, you are just supposed to sit home alone and pine. It is disappointing to constantly be reminded that the world does not accept the absence of coupling.

But I decide that I will not be disheartened. I am on an adventure and I am having fun. I am also making an impression because I return to my first ride and the attendant says, “you riding again?” The evening proceeds like this, “you again?” “you riding again?” “back for another?” I even end up with guests on the Tiltiwhirl. Two little girls, who later asked for my tickets, but I told them no. I wanted to ride the Zipper-it’s a ride-get your mind out of the gutter. But it was for couple riders only. Damn. Again with the discrimination against singles. So I convince the goldfish guy to ride with me…twice!

It’s time for me to head out, and as I start to leave, feeling rejuvenated by my spontaneous adventure and my life-of-the party, bell-of-the-ball status, I hear a voice from beside me. “So where are we going?” I turn to discover the source of the inquiry only to find that I am standing in front of the Break a Plate game booth and the voice is coming from the Carney.

“I’m sorry. Were you addressing me?” I ask.
He repeats, “Where are we going?”

I am now entirely confused. And, intrigued by his persistence, I question him as to what he wants. He tells me he finds me interesting and he sees no ring on my finger so… I stop him in his tracks and explain my status, in as brief but clear a term as I can muster without going into the details. He tells me that the fact that I am married is a shame, but that he would still like to get together. So, I figure, why not? He will be leaving with the carnival. So I give him my number. I leave the carnival with my heart racing and my cheeks flushed. I just got picked up by a Carney in my leopard print heels. It was the best movie I never saw.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Belly Dance *

I took a belly dance class this past winter. I was inspired by a song called obviously enough, “Introduction to Belly dance”. I decided I needed this in my life. I needed something to reconnect me with the sexual being that so many have tried to convince me exists. I have been told I am a sexually powerful woman and as it was an email, I had to check the address-even though it was in my inbox. So, I decided I wanted to find a group of women whom I could connect with and maybe find myself again. I went online and discovered not only was there a class in my neighborhood but it was starting that week. Clearly this was meant to be. I contacted the instructor who told me that is was not a popular time and that she was not sure the class would run, but please feel free to come and hope for the best. Well, I did not lose faith and I was not disappointed. Too much had already gone in my favor; I was meant to take this class. Someone will show up. And what an amazing and diverse group of women came. The first day of class, we go around the room talking about our reasons for being there. There is the beautiful Costa Rican woman who is trying to reconnect with her body after suffering the muscular deterioration from Lupus. Immediately I feel connected to her through my mother. There is the stunning equestrian who wants to connect to her femininity because she lives and works in a barn with horses. There are the two friends, both of whom are gorgeous, statuesque women seeking a way to work out and get in shape after having taken time off to raise their children. They say they have done everything, tried everything and aren’t seeing the results they need. Then it is my turn. Why am I here? What am I looking for? My answer is utterly honest and floods out of me. “I am here because I am in the midst of a major identity crisis and I need to reconnect with my inner goddess.” Ok, I’m afraid to even look up. These women are going to eat me alive. What was I thinking? After a moment, I let out my breath, which I have apparently been holding, and one of the friends just laughs and says, “I want her reason. I want my inner goddess too.” The whole class chimes in talking about inner goddesses and family and the need for something independent of wife and mother. Class begins. I am in the right place. Thank you Universe. I am, as always, utterly humbled.