27 January 2018. It’s You.

26992403_10214712877157252_8429118964927413722_n

If you asked me five years ago, on a regular Saturday morning such as this, anything having to do with dating or coupling (outside of business or creatively contributing to something) or, God forbid, Love and such, I would have quickly changed the subject to you, your life and goings–on; or my daughter or our home or my employment (or my employer) or a movie we should see at the Cinema Arts Center (because likely, I had already seen it, alone, and will always tell someone when something is really worth the price of the ticket.)

What we would *not* have talked about was “r e l a t i o n s h i p.”

Strung out letter-by-letter because after divorce – those of us once-married (remove the ‘i’ and you’re “marred”, if you didn’t already notice) are somewhat loathe to jump back into the dating pool, let alone broach the subject at all. So, we literally d r a g it out (or avoid the word and idea altogether.)

Five years ago, single-mothering my then-14-and three-quarters-year old offspring, in a too-big (and cold) old house with indoor/outdoor cats and a puppy with the worst case of PTSD – ever – we would NOT have talked about Match.com or Plentyoffish or speed-dating or blind dates or group dinners or meetup.com or meeting someone in church or taking a class or doing another show or volunteering (I was already doing that) or how involving myself with yet another oddball-people-project adult male who needed more help and more ego-massage than anyone in their right mind would ever take on would be really stupid (but oh so familiar. And easy.) I would have to be NUTS to get involved with anyone again – be they near or hundreds of miles away. I was done and comfortable knowing I would be my nephew’s ‘crazy Ant Jaye’ until the title aged-out as he aged-up.

And, yet…here we are.

We do not use the word “r e l a t i o n s h i p”.  We use “partnership”.

We do not talk about getting married, though people who don’t know us refer to the other partner as “your wife” and “your husband”.  It’s funny.

We do not cling to each other the way we might have, earlier, younger, when one might believe the more time you have together the better things get and nothing could possibly go wrong if you lost yourself in another person losing themselves, too.

We do not lose any part of our Self from being part of something together. And that is the very biggest treasure: I get to be me, He gets to be He, and we get to be we, how ever we see fit.

Oh, hello, it’s you. It’s going to be you.

And how delighted I was to have that realization strike, just about five years ago, dead center in my chest, when meeting you for the first time, as adults, in the middle of Penn Station in the middle of New York City in the middle of our lives. It was very different than when we met, briefly, at 13 and 15; fish in the pond.

Hello, it’s you.
Happy Five, this Friday.
ox

Advertisements

Rabbit Mother, Tiger Daughter. [Journal entry 6.9.14]

I am not going to fight.

I am going to vastly improve my argument (and it’s pretty damned good already).

I am not going to point out the obvious (at least not obviously), and I am not going to name-call.

What I AM going to do is be there. Be present, and supportive, and listen and focus on what is important: She is. My daughter, my child, the pine cone to my fir.

I am a Rabbit raising a Tiger. It is not always easy.
I am a Scale raising a Ram; she butts her head, hard, into every.single.thing.

She will learn tact and compassion, and how humor is our lifeboat during difficult times, and how it is my primary way of coping *any* time – to see the humor in every situation.

She teaches me what it is like to be enraged, fully, and to express myself – as she does – with no filter, with passion and heat and language and every venomous bit of vocabulary when provoked or frustrated (or tired). Her anger is pure and without apology or shame; mine is always “polite”.

She teaches me how to let go quickly and move on, and that there are, in fact, people who just do not deserve to know you. This is a new concept for me, for I have given myself away in pieces my entire life. You wanna piece? Here.

She teaches me that to love someone is to also be in love with how you feel about yourself when you are together. This is new to me, too; I thought loving someone was always about exhausting yourself just to make the other person feel they were loved without any doubt; it never really mattered I received less than I gave.

So many lessons we share, together.

DJDawson 2014

On This Day: 2 April 2016. {journal entry}

It has been several months – including the winter holiday season – since my house has given me any remote sense of joy. I really (really) like this house. It’s quirky enough to satisfy my disdain of cookie-cuttery and “normal” enough to reassure my faint desire to conform.

Inanimate – how could it give anything let alone joy?

But this evening, a weird coldsnappping on the wind and the dog impatiently yanking me down the driveway for a night walk I am beginning to enjoy, I turn to look back at our house, from the corner.

 

66Mill4.2.16

Fuzzy image of our house, dog walk. 4.2.2016

 

Two paper star lanterns hang side by side, glowing in concert with a single strand of un-twinkling twinkle/fairy lights.

She is in there, with six then seven then six of her girlfriends. Playing games and laughing wildly, howling at each other’s uncensored teenage humors and running commentary.

Junk food, juice, real soda, pizza and eventual ice cream cake hopefully burned off before bed so no middle-night stomach issues result. They sang to her, and she commented with genuine thrill, “I haven’t had an ice cream cake since I was like seven or eight!!” and blew out the 19 candles – an extra for luck – in one noiseless whistle. She was happy, IS happy, and that is something I have not witnessed in a long time.  She moved out abruptly, in January, after I drew my final line in the sand about her disrespectful behavior and backtalk.  I was done and that time, unlike previous others, there was to be no discussion, no bargaining.  She moved out the very next day, her father ‘rescuing’ her from me, her awful mother, her personal target, and blame-source.  He showed up, hours after he first promised, and hauled most of her things away, leaving a mess in her room and a giant, painful hole in our home.

Down to the final four, the sleepover will be sweet and sacred, as most of these things are. In the morning, I will prepare crepes and bacon and tea or juice, and cinnamon buns. They’ll be gone before 10:30 AM. And, then, so will she, until the next visit.  She does not come around often at all; I am ignored or shunned or too embarrassing.  It would be the same if she still lived here.  However, it was her behavior – not my lack of love or mothering – that led to the ultimatum:  change how you treat me or take your show on the road and play a few acts at your father’s.  She could not change for us – she needs to “individuate”, my friends all tell me.  “She’ll come back, better than before”, they all say.  But that is not now; the future remains a blank canvas.  We can only love what is right now.  So, tonight, I love this and the following moments of her being home.

Tomorrow night the house will be darker, less full, less lively and certainly less noisy. I wish it were like this more often: alive, glowing and sighing with joy.  Unbridled and happy. But, for now, it is really quite perfect. ❤

cake 4.2.16

Clemency + Dispensation {Poem / Poetry}

Up before the sun (with good intentions)
Back to sleep (with no intentions)
Rise, shine, quadruped shuffle
ground beans and hot water
 
sleepy-eyed talk of dance, and creativity
what it means to be good at something
to own what you put into the world
without guilt or fear of being singled out
 
she asks
when did I know I had something
how old was I
who got lost along the way
 
how do you know friends
–where is the line between supportive loyalty
and praise cloaking a blade
 
I tell her:
I thank the blade
here, run a finger over scars of insincerity gouging sarcasm
words that whittled away my arias to murmurs
 
but murmur I owned
10 years at a time
stumbling along small
until enough love filled my lungs
full and lofty
raising above the myopic fog
to the light of now
 
40 years, a long time to hum a lifesong and
not cry out infinite joys
 
17 years, a brief lesson in wearing confident skin and deflecting the subtle dismantling of peers
 
Leave them be, wish them well, love your song.
DJD 2015

Harumph.

Home Alone, adult style.  All menfolk out of the house for the night.  My evening plan to attend the roller derby nixed, though I could have attended had I gone in my own vehicle.  (An option left unsuggested.)  But, I shall sit outside in the cricketsong and honey-pinking sky against the mountains, with a favorite pen, drawing paper and adult tonic, and ask myself why I allow others to decide what is right for me. (I do this more than I care to, and more than I should.)  

Stern, well-shaped brow bent in moderate resentment (well, I did ask, didn’t I? And this is what you get.  Duh.)  Just lettin’ it gooooooo.

Dar Dawson 2016

Barley September.

These last few mornings, before dawn, I have walked the dog.  Because my head is thrown back mouth hanging open dazed by all the stars, I have no idea whether or not she has relieved herself of her night holdings.  Let’s presume “yes”, as she has not soiled the carpet (recently).

On our walk this morning, cows lowing and uncensored roosters on the farm through the wood tuned up for their field day.  Again, the sky invited gazing.  Orion, clear as ever, sparkling belt and all, beginning to dive out of sight into the gathering equinox. Tonight, we will be blessed by the pull and push of September’s full Corn moon or Barley moon; the true Harvest moon this year does not rise until October.

Orion, whose body so powerful, his ego so big, believed no creature would or could ever slay him, stung by a lowly scorpion and up into the stars he went.  The scorpion, receiving similar celestial treatment, was placed on the opposite heavenly hemisphere so the two might never meet again.  Orion’s story, far more detailed and varied than what I share here – versions that include seduction, death by arrow, sobbing goddesses and angry gods, mothers and daughters, and other narrative rhinestones – a familiar and ancient myth.

This morning, realizing the constellation was leaving our sky for a while, I felt an overwhelm’ment of gratitude for having those few moments of unlit quiet, alone and outside.  And, immediately after that peace, I felt as though the calendar would suddenly move more quickly than the last eight months.  When the grape harvest is over, our home life will return to ‘normal’.  No more insanely early wake-up times for him (which also mean for me because once he’s up, I basically am, too); no more going to bed directly after 5 o’clock supper (which means being in bed with a full stomach, tossing and turning and trying to screen read in the dark, and being awake long after he has crossed into deep sleep).  The return of morning and evening in-bed conversation and planning and mindwandering, and communion.  As much as I may become periodically flummoxed about these temporary changes to our household routine, Orion reminds me to never get so brazen and full of myself to believe I can get along without these things; to not take the small stuff for granted, lest they creep up and bite/sting/kill me.

Harvest isn’t going to kill me or us.  Neither is the changing sky…because there is always a reason to get up in the morning, and not just an anxious dog – whether or not the fruit is ripe and ready, and there is always something to look at in the sky, day or night, clear or foggy.

Just keep looking up.

Forest Through.

Empty nest – what empty nest?

Our nest has people.  Some are not-quite mine, some (when they visit) are very much mine.  Our nest is not empty.  There is a dog here, and a man and a teenboy.  And me.  Not empty.

 

But, it is not full, either.

There’s an essay going around social media by a parent, whose son is going off to college.  Toddler to young man in a blink – that sort of thing.  It’s a tearjerker (no, I am not going to read it; my spawn left for college last fall, 2016.  I’m a veteran empty nester compared to many of my friends.)  Don’t be fooled:  a year in and it still hurts.  I miss her like crazy, in between worrying about her health, safety and welfare.  We never stop doing that, the worrying, the parenting-feeling-stuff.  The willingness to be needed, and hope that they call us when they do need us (and to check-in when they don’t).

It’s a weird between-chapters place to be, made weirder by my own life upheaval just over one year ago.  Mid-August, Mr. Virginia and I passed the one-year mark of my move to be with him.  A year living together went quickly, and was a lot of fun.  Eight months after I moved here, we bought a house together.  Eight.  Months.  We are almost fully moved out of his house and in to this new, shared space… .  Our work keeps us busy, tired, and the last thing we wish to do with any free time is go back to ‘the other house’ and load the cars.  It needs to get done – we know this.

 

Scrounging-around somewhat-empty-nesting I am uncomfortably perched on the fence between being needed and being completely and utterly without purpose. I feel lost and a bit dissatisfied at work, which, normally, I adore (try as I might to feel worthy and belonging), and feigning interest in any hobby or creativity. (Crochet ain’t doing it, sorry; neither is looking at other people’s maker ideas on Pinterest. Nope.)  I need something and I have a feeling it’s not outside of me, like a child or a job or someone’s touch.

 

While I do believe opportunities are on the way, perhaps, I am simply not ready.  To be honest, Mr. Virginia asked me earlier this evening if I was happy.  (This, a sign of worry and caring, which I may never get used to.  He is an excellent partner.) I told him that I was not very interesting nor intriguing these days, and would he mind me as a boring partner for a while?  He said he would not mind.  I also told him that, yes, in general, I am quite happy.  (It’s just smothered by a steaming pile of angst, right now.)

What I am is frustrated with the whole reinvent yourself when you move thing.
Or maybe it’s not feeling like a useful person or the lack of creative brilliance, or that I am no longer someone’s long-distance desire but their in-the-next-room squeeze.  Nah, that latter is nothing to whine about. *smile*

Whatever is missing – rather, whatever the “blah” antidote is – is probably right in front of me, so big and tall and obvious that – whatever it is I need to see – I’m too close to see it properly.  What does one do, then? Take a step back.

And, then, a few steps more.

When the ‘aha!’ moment finally happens, I will let you know.  Until then, all I’m seeing is a lot of tree bark and no forest.

djdawson

2017