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

Obia Dobia Shmobia.

Philemaphobia or Philematophobia- Fear of kissing.

Philophobia- Fear of falling in love or being in love.

Fear of missing out on something good/great/fantastic because you’re afraid you’re in too deep, getting too close? Is there a word for this?  (And, no, that’s not it.  Not the words I’d use, exactly, but close.)

Not too deep nor too close.  It’s this:  you are effectively closing off your usual escape hatches and exit routes.  You’re feeling, maybe, a tad committed, even geographically? Your house is in almost-fully in contract; one and only offspring is in college; things with The Man are nice, friendly. Loving and relatively smooth for a learning curve.  Work is enjoyable, entertaining, informative, educational and – totally – stimulating.  So, Life is, essentially and blessedly, perking along quite nicely.  What’s the problem?

And, now you’re starting to feel stuck…or fear ‘stuck’ is about to make an appearance.  (By the way, *this* is the problem.)

Crap.

Two hours later, during lunch:  spellcheck, revisit, and admit some awkward but truthful things

I always wind up leaving.  Volunteering and over-booking my free time; taking every free shift at a job, asking for overtime; taking a second or third job; putting others first (who do not deserve to be in that spot).  There are several avenues of exit, mostly pertaining to use of free time.  i.e.:  I am not home nor available for anything other than being useful and, in that usefulness, there is no time or risk of connecting with a partner.

So, later, I will think about how not to mess everything up and allow joy.

 

Eyes Wide Open. (Literally.)

It’s well early of 0630.  She suggests he come and try the seat to her right, it might be softer.  He declines.  An older, country gentleman in a fresh t-shirt and his ‘good’ cap. He’s used to being uncomfortable.  A softer yield in a chair seat isn’t going to make much difference.

-Didja remembah to hang the handicap off the mirra?

A little gasp, she frowns at her small misstep and she’s up, rummaging keys from her pocketbook, feeling badly and admonishing herself, forgetting that simple act.

-Remember to lock the car, he says.

A few moments later, she’s back.

-Are you scared? She asks him. He’s not; whatever ails his leg/knee will be addressed later and he’s looking forward to that.

We are here for a cataract surgery (one of two). I’m glad to be eavesdropping on the easy give and take of a long-time couple.  Her pale canvas tote, handmarked “Granm…” is rumpled and familiar at her feet.  They have greater family.

At seven sharp they call my partner in, and before I can kiss him one time, he is gone with the nurse behind the walnut brown door.

* * *

We are at an age when, in a waiting room like this, we are the youngest.  We are at an age when signing on to a committed partnership, marriage or not, comes with more than a few need-to-knows.

  • are you healthy?
  • do you have regard for your wellness?
  • do you plan on being around for a while and doing the essential things to maintain your wellness?
  • will you support my wellness, should I, God forbid, develop a chink in my health armor?
  • will you let me care for you, while I am able or will you become a martyr and shun the doctor and those who care?

There are stories of single people like us, good folks in their earlyish 50’s, who decide to stay single and unconnected for the duration of their lives for fear of loving a mid-life partner who may be, or already is, not in perfect health.  Many mid-life and older singles do not want to become their partner’s nurse.  Why date someone overweight, or one with a sedentary lifestyle, poor eating habits, diabetes, heart issues, failing eyesight, emotional health, depression?  By this age, a multitude of things could be askew.  A multitude of things could go terribly wrong, too, …and you’d be ‘stuck’ as someone’s nurse.  The burdened partner of a sick person.

Really?  (Yes, some have this very clearly out there on their Match or Eharmony profile.  If we were 80, I’d understand.  But we’re not.)

We do not see it that way – cataracts aside:  we would rather have a good partner, someone who fits us eerily well, loves us as we are and encourages our wellness rather than braces for future burdens.  So, we take it from there.  He’s not in “the greatest” of health for this age and I’m a prime candidate for weight loss and more physical activity.

So, hand-in-hand, we go forward, together.  For better and better, practicing prevention, eating at home more often than out.  Enjoying each other’s quirky and perverted humors, knowing these days are nothing but proverbial cake.  It is scary, but it is more fun and more fantastic than any other love before, so we take care of it, and each other.

Take care of each other.

Ostridge*.

“I am not a product of my circumstances.  I am a product of my decisions.”
-Stephen Covey.

*Yes, the title is mispelled.  It is mispelled on purpose, as are both those uses of “misspelled.”  They are, all three, misspelt (which is oddly correct, though it looks deplorable, doesn’t it?  It looks witchy and magickal.) by choice.  I decided to be wrong on purpose.

Mid Week 4 here as a transplant and, for almost every part, things are going well.

  1. Love the new job and them seem to love me back.  My co-workers are just that: workers.  They’re not lazy, duty-shirking gossips.  Nor are they boring; in fact, we spend so much time laughing with each other, I wonder if we’re going to be reprimanded for being too happy on the job.  (Not likely.)

    20160910_064503.jpg

    Getting Lost on Purpose, early morning ride through sunrise fog.  Greene Co, VA.

  2. I get lost – on purpose. The wayfinding, one of the best things about moving, in my humble opinion, is great. Traveling unfamiliar roads feeds my brain, and it’s good to gut-feel where I am, at least geographically.  If I have the time, I will take a new road just to learn where it goes and if it attaches to something I already know.  Getting lost is good; feeling lost is not.  I still have a little of the latter (just a teeny bit) but I’m not sure why.
  3. Moving in with manfriend after three+ years of long distance relating is going well; although, I did get a bit testy when I pulled from the cupboard another not-well-cleaned item.  He is used to wiping off something after using it; wiping off or quickly rinsing – not washing with hot water and detergent.  We call that “Bachelor Clean”, here.  And “Bachelor Clean” worked fine…until I moved in and realized that if I want to cook with a clean pot or eat from a clean dish or fork, it likely needs to be re-washed, clean.  Today, he pointed out that we are one month under the same roof.  I’m smiling typing that; it’s nice he is aware of stuff like that.  (I might have realized after the fact!)
  4. Men make noises and emit odors.  (Who knew?!) Somehow, I didn’t catch this previously, when living with other males.  When DD and I lived together for 13+ years, we had contests of noise and smell and they were cute, funny.  There is nothing cute or funny about any of this coming from men or teenmen.  I’m not complaining; just observing, and opening a window.
  5. My driver’s license is now location compliant as are the plates for my car, which arrived last week.  Manfriend attached them in celebration.  There’s no going back now.

So, these things were, at one time, all choices.  Deciding/giving into have a partner far away, to fully moving here and starting a new life (or re-routing my existing life to another location).  The circumstances are good, Mr. Covey, my decisions are healthy, for the most part, and yet part of me is beginning to slip down a slope to quietude; it was so easy to go there when I lived alone.  This morning, I have a couple hours before a service call is scheduled to visit here at the house; it might be a good time to get out and distract myself with some nature or a short ride down an unfamiliar road, and get lost a while.

They say you’re never really lost when you have yourself, and you’re always at home when you are at home with yourself.  This morning, I am somewhere in between ‘settled’ and ‘quite restless’.  I am a product of my circumstances:  new, somewhat unfamiliar, roughed out, still forming, exciting, exploring, inquisitive, tentative but courageous.

Today, I decide not ostrich and hide from solitude or the need to be alone a few hours.
I’ll be back.

1o Hours Later…I did not leave the house today.  Instead, I met the service person, who came to inspect the ducts for cleaning and possible more serious work/updating.  And I made dinner.  It was enough today.  Mentally, I went to the storage unit and re-organized things so I could find important stuff – like cookbooks and small art supplies, and my clothes and shoes. (I’ve been wearing the same eight items for a month with the exception of work garb) since I arrived.

It is late now.  Creeping just past 9:40 PM.  Manfriend has been in bed since 7, boy and dog are in their nests.  The familiar anxiety of not-sleeping is back and, frankly, I don’t like it at all.  I’m angry about it.  Not-sleeping is lonely and worrisome by nature; thoughts cascade and slur and make no sense; they pillage a good brain that would otherwise be working things out in sleep and dreams; it’s like I’m done but my governor says, “No, you are not finished so you are not allowed to sleep.”  What am I fighting?

Governor is a term I pinched from a friend.  She used it when speaking about one’s conscience or inner control device, the voice of reason (and, many times, lack of reason).  My governor is a controlling, fun-less, rigid and unforgiving ill-spirited and uptight entity.  It (genderless) is not around all the time but these nights when I am not-sleeping or going to bed, the governor is in control.  An overwhelming bully.  Just typing that feels disloyal; like, if I literally stood up and thought, “I am GOING TO BED!” the going to bed would be fine but the getting to sleep would be difficult, not allowed, challenging.  It would be weak.  Why the heck of all things would going to be be weak?!  No idea.  My hands are skyward in an ‘I give up’ goalpost.  Governor wins.

What this is or what causes it, I know not.  A good therapist would help point me to what I don’t want to see.  Maybe being too happy has a downside of guilt or lack of enjoyment, eventually?  I must turn in, not give in.  I must make a decision, mustn’t I?

 

Most Nights.

Most nights I laymedown with a simple “thanks” and a small smile
and turn on my side pretending
I can reach out
stroke your back or neck
or hold your hand
in the comfortable plain between our restings

Most nights, the rituals of putting the household to bed are simple
dog, locks, thermostat
music, lights
ascension
undress, little or nothing
slide in, plump ‘n’ fuss
exhale

Most nights
we lay together miles apart
under the moon, spied on by heavenly embraces of o
ur ancestors and spirits whose soul (yes) purpose is
to Love us beyond time and space
through our flaws and foibles and missed understandings

the way we Love each other, most nights.

~Dar Dawson

Untitled (but suggestions welcome)

one lane bridge, charlottesville

forward

“Note to self:  It’s not the future that you’re afraid of.  It’s fear of repeating the past that makes you anxious.

Keep going forward.” ~ me. 30 Aug, 2014.

Originally posted elsewhere (with a different image) a couple years ago today, it is fresh and bright this morning.

Alone in the house with things that hum.  Overhead kitchen fluorescents, the behind-mesh light over the stove, the refrigerator (which also bubbles and clicks as does the old coffeemaker on the counter behind my leaning).


artful decay, old hotplate.

The thermostat spring makes a small ‘boing’ in the hotplate under the glass carafe, which is burnt and chip-peeling away in non-stick tectonic plates of char.  *click.electric hum.spring.sigh* keeping the eighth pot warm.  An insult, really, to its constant effort as the mug I use is too big for the slow speed and neglectful sipping pace; it is only warm on the first taste.  When I remember I’m having coffee, it has cooled, considerably.

ridiculously large mug vs regular sized mug

Hot coffee is for those who consume it with quick need and refill frequently.  My speed?  Sloth-like, almost passive, consumption.  I will nurse this large, cooling mug through several cycles of the pot’s reheating yet never pour a ‘heater’ splash until the cup is empty.


Slow coffee, easy enjoyment, quiet speechless morning.  I am filled in this moment, happy in this place, hearing the neighbor’s lawn being tended; my dirty fawn furred dog giving herself a loud, slurping bath on her dirty fawn furred bed of the rec room sofa.

The mower downshifts to neutral.  In our tall grass and weedery, the cicada chorus rises. The pot clicks and warms as I pull supper ingredients from the larder.

Again, in this moment – a word whose center stands an ‘omen’ – joy rushes in and quiets the ghosts of guilt and pleasure.

hums the omen:  allow, allow, allow all this joy.

Bearings.

Sunday evening truth:  After two full weeks, I feel a bit lost.

Maybe it will come and go, just as the realization I am actually here at all keeps knocking me over in unpredictable, powerful waves of ‘Oh my gosh!!’  They rise up at the silliest times and catch my breath.  At the kitchen sink doing dishes; brushing my teeth for bed at “his” bathroom vanity (the first three years, I used the hall bath, not the master bath); waking up in the middle of the night and hearing him sleeping, or letting the dog in and out but not leashing her for a long car ride home/north.  And, driving everywhere, to learn where I am and how to get lost and, then, found.

So, it happens a lot, the realizations.  They’re not easing, either.  It’s like moving here and living here are One. Big. Dazzling. Shock.  (You will let me know if this is normal or if it is not.)

Tonight, sitting quietly, my internal compass is off.

Parts of Being Someone’s Partner feel unfamiliar and rough-edged.  And, while I am generally happy (OK, ecstatic), I am presently uncomfortable and (angry with myself for) feeling lost – exactly the feeling I do not want in this new geography and new home, cohabitating with another adult-as-partner.  (How do I do this?)

Things are going fine.  Today:  simply spent.  Grocery run with his son, brunch prepared by partner.  His son left to visit other parent.

We napped, adulted, supper’d in summer pajamas.

6PM.  I cleaned up dinner and manfriend headed to bed (yes, that early), to rise and shine at 2 AM to work the mechanics of crushing or pressing grapes once they are picked in the cool, early morning.  His schedule will be nuts for the next six to eight weeks.

And when he bedded, suddenly the day came to an unexpected halt.  Or, rather, my role in this house/as a partner did.  My things finally here, in storage, as of yesterday.  I feel safe, the way one feels safe in the vestibule of a city building during a passing rainstorm.  Safe, and a relief I can’t explain.  Also like a visitor, lightly breathing, trying to not take up space or exist too loud or make noise that would wake a person.  Waiting (but for what or whom?)

“You belong here, in this house.  You do know that, don’t you?  You fit perfectly here.”  He asks/tells me when we are quiet and enfolded, adulting in private earlier this afternoon.  I smiled and nodded; at the time I agreed.  It felt “yes” and accurate; it has felt “yes” for some time.

Left alone to myself right now, I realize my ‘belong’ space and fit-in-here has been defined by the other two people in the house.  I mediate gently, listen, deal with food when asked or when obviously my task; I fill in the gaps an alpha/partner/’aunt’/friend female might fill, had there been one here before.  There was not, not in this house, anyway.

I am the first (and the idea is, the last), of any length or measure, outside the wife and mother – roles someone else owns and I am happy she keep them as long as appropriate.  But, who am I when not needed or sought?

Wait – stop.  I ask that again.  It rings in my head a few moments then wanders down into the velvety, gooey darkness where all these things murmur – these deeper truths, the painful questions – and something unlocks.  I have been asking this question, “who am I when someone doesn’t need me?” since DD moved out abruptly in late January.  Her departure left me reeling; it continues to seize regularly, weighted collars of failure and heartbreaking loss make it hard to inhale, and my once-usefulness exhales and dies all over again.  It’s been doing this for nearly nine months, a gestational period of “Why?” and “Where did I go wrong?”  It’s hard to live with someone you doubt or do not trust, especially when that person is you; it has been grossly uncomfortable facing myself every day despite what loved one’s say of my good worth and “excellent parenting”.

So, by her not needing me, I have defined myself as a mom-failure, an adult unworthy of just about everything related to mentoring, guiding, teaching…and being capable of weathering the needs – or lack thereof – of others.

So, who am I here?  Here with manfriend/partner and his dear teenson?  And while he sleeps for early work, who am I, waiting out in the living room/den, playing hushed-martyr-girlfriend, stalled and waiting to feel sleepy enough to tiptoe down the slender hall to bed and ghost in beside him.

Who am I when no none needs me?

Who am I when I need someone?  Better still, who am I, what of me do I own, when I need me?  That is the answer, the anchor:  who am I at my core regardless of role or being desired or fetched or filling in a blank or mending or paring or hemming or holding or kissing or unfolding or responding?

It is the beginning of week three.  I will make an effort to Be myself and not immediately define my fit here…but I’m not sure how to do that without automatically embracing stereotype or without the administration of someone else’s needs before my own.  Women who caregive do this without a second thought:  we take the role(s) we know, rather than one we create for ourselves.

“Reinvent yourself,” they said, when I announced my departure from Long Island, from DD living in our/my/the house, from leaving a traditional desk jockey job.  The leavings, juicy and ripe with potential.

“You can reinvent yourself when you come down here,” manfriend/partner suggested on more than several occasions.

I’m working in it.  One feel-good at a time.  One dizzying, elated wave of relocation euphoria at a time.